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Endometriosis Expert and Former Head of Austrian Endometriosis Center Receives Harry Reich Award

Endometriosis Expert and Former Head of Austrian Endometriosis Center Receives Harry Reich Award

Dr. Jörg Keckstein’s career in gynecology stretches into six decades, and over the last 40 years, he’s become a premier worldwide endometriosis specialist. At EndoFound’s Blossom Ball on May 3 in New York City, he was awarded the prestigious Harry Reich Award for his contributions and dedication.

“I am very honored and delighted,” Keckstein said. “I have been following the excellent work of EndoFound for many years. This work brings a whole new awareness to a very complex condition where many patients suffer for far too long due to a lack of knowledge and care.”

The award was founded and named for Dr. Reich in 2010. Reich is a member of EndoFound’s Scientific Advisory Council, a pioneer in laparoscopic surgery, and a lifelong endometriosis specialist. Now retired, he operated in more than 60 countries and performed the first laparoscopic hysterectomy, the first pelvic lymphadenectomy for cancer, and the first excision of cul-de-sac endometriosis that included rectal resection.

“In particular, my friendship but also deep admiration for Harry Reich has been given a special flavor by this award,” Keckstein said. “I owe him a lot in terms of knowledge and way of thinking about endometriosis.”

Keckstein was one of two recipients of the award this year. The other was Dr. Philippe Koninckx, a gynecologist and professor emeritus at KU Leuven in Belgium.

Keckstein is the former head of the Endometriosis Center Keckstein in Villach, Austria, and now serves there as a consultant. He began his gynecology career in 1979 and became aware two years later of the problems endometriosis presented for patients and doctors. He began focusing on minimally invasive surgery and endometriosis in 1985 and hasn’t looked back.

In 1995, Keckstein performed the first ureteral resection. A year later, he performed the first bowel resection by laparoscopy and founded a school for endoscopic surgery specializing in endometriosis surgery. In 2002, Keckstein founded a comprehensive noninvasive and surgical classification for endometriosis called #Enzian, which was updated three years ago and is now attracting significant international interest.

“His #Enzian scoring system is the mark by which all other surgical scoring systems can be measured,” said Dr. Dan Martin, EndoFound’s scientific and medical director, who called Keckstein a “world leader” in the endometriosis field.

In addition, Keckstein has spent the last several decades performing demonstration operations globally and conducting clinical and experimental studies, which have led to numerous publications and presentations. He also co-founded the first self-help group for patients in Germany in 1996, and it’s still active today.

“This gave me good contact with the problems patients have with their illness, but also with the healthcare system,” Keckstein said. “Over the years, this has led to a significant improvement in patient care, particularly in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.”

Patient care has always been a priority for Keckstein.

“Due to an initial lack of comprehensive training in the field of diagnostics and ultrasound examinations, the detection rate of the disease has unfortunately only improved slowly,” he said. “Nevertheless, the intensive work of the scientists and the clinic in close cooperation with patient self-help groups has led to a significant improvement in patient care. It has always been important to me that the patients’ side of the story is treated with great respect and interest. This has enabled us doctors to learn a lot and adapt our daily work to the needs of our patients.”

That focus on patient care endears Keckstein to EndoFound and is why being in New York on May 3 with people dedicated to helping those with the disease meant so much to him.

“I’d been very much looking forward to the award,” he said, “but especially to meeting in person with all those in this organization who are working very intensively, selflessly, and effectively to improve the care of our patients.”

To read more about Keckstein’s background and past Harry Reich Award winners, visit www.endofound.org/medicalconference/harry-reich-award.