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Dr. Jürg Knessl

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Dr. Jürg Knessl

Dr. Jürg Knessl, born in 1954, is a Swiss specialist in orthopaedic surgery, co-inventor of an artificial joint, medical ethicist, former university lecturer at the University of Zurich UZH and a book author. Dr. Knessl is an honorary member and former president of the Swiss Society for Orthopaedics and Traumatology SGOT / SO.


Dr. Knessl studied medicine at the Medical School of the university of Basel, graduating with the state examination in 1980, thesis under the lead of Prof. Erwin Morscher. From 1975 to 1986 he completed his medical training with secondary studies in philosophy with Prof. Hansjörg A. Salmony. In 1988, he graduated as a specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology FMH. He has been practising as an independent orthopaedic surgeon in Zurich since 1990. His book Medical Ethics from Today’s Perspective (MedizinischeEthik aus heutiger Sicht), published in 1989, which was reissued in 2013, was, according to the publisher, the first book on medical Ethics in the German-speaking world.

Functions and activities

1989-1991 Dr. Knessl was co-author of the mission statement of the Swiss Society for Orthopaedics and Traumatology. In 2003 – 2005 he completed a postgraduate course in Applied Ethics at the University of Zurich, culminating in a thesis on The Ethical Problem of Euthanasia with MAS in Applied Ethics (MAE). In 2015, he also completed a postgraduate course in medical law with a CAS in MedLaw UZH; the final thesis was on Doctor’s Duty to Inform. From 2009 to 2021, he was a lecturer in medical ethics at the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich at the Institute of Biomedical Ethics IBME. Dr. Knessl is one of the authors of the Code of Ethics of the Swiss Medical Association (FMH), which came into force in 1997. In 2008, Dr. Knessl finished a major medico-historical work on Passive Euthanasia. After many years of work in several commissions and working groups, in particular the Cantonal Ethics Committee Zurich (1997 - 2009), he was a board member from 2002 – 2008 and president from 2004 -2006 of the Swiss Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology SGOT / SO. In 2018, he was appointed honorary member of this Society for his services.

Development of an artificial MP-1-joint

Together with Prof. Engelbert Seeber, Dessau, Germany, Dr. Knessl developed the Toefit Plus artificial Joint (patent EP 0827386) from 1993 to 2000 in cooperation with the company PLUS Endoprothetik AG (later Plusorthopedics AG, since 2010 Smith & Nephew plc.), which has been usedinternationally in a total of 12 countries on three continents until 2018. A total of 9023 prostheses (30 000 components) were implanted in these countries.

Current activities

In 2017, Dr. Knessl took on the task of accrediting the SGOT continuing education for the attention of the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) and thus for the attention of the responsible Federal Council of the Department of Home Affairs (EDI). In the same year he became a certified medical examiner. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the FMH Expert Committee, is anhonorary judge of the Zurich Medical Association and a member of the Steering Committee of Ethics Commission in the Hirslanden Clinic in Zurich. Since 2019, he has held a seat on the Medical Advisory Board of the 17-clinic private hospital group Hirslanden AG and since February 2022 he has been a consultant and ethics expert on the General Ethics Board of Hirslanden AG / Hirslanden Ethics Committee. Dr. Knessl is active in various publishing activities and is the author of a total of six books and several magazine articles. Some of his oil paintings have recently been catalogued and are in the Hirslanden ART Collection in Zurich.

Publications and Books

A total of 17 scientific publications and approx. 75 lectures, 20 of which were held internationally (orthopaedic surgery and bioethics).

Medical Ethics from today’s perspective (Medizinische Ethikaus heutiger Sicht), Birkhäuser / Springer, 1989, ISBN 978-3-7643-2320-2, reprint 2013, 131 pp., (Synopsis of medical ethics, historical development, guidelines).

Questions of Euthanasia in restrospect – press reports 1975 to 1985, evaluation of the documentation of Prof. U. P. Haemmerli (Fragen der Sterbehilfe im Rückblick - Presseberichte 1975 bis 1985, Auswertung der DokumentationProf. U.P. Haemmerli), Medizinhistorisches Institut UZH / MERH / at:, 112 pp., 12.8.2008.

The Journey to the Averted Side of the Earth (Die Reise zurabgewandten Seite der Erde), Münster Verlag Basel, 2018, ISBN 978-3-905896-83-1, 292 pp., (Philosophical novel).

The Boss or The Way of the Surgeon (Der Chef oder Der Wegdes Chirurgen), Münster Verlag Basel, 2020, ISBN 978-3-907146-92-7, 133 pp., (Review of general surgical continuing education in the 1980s).

The Thinker who Gave Meaning to Today (Der Denker, der dem Heute einen Sinn gab), Münster Verlag, 2022, ISBN 978-3-907301-48-7, 112 pp., (Theological implications of the digitalisation).

Book Chapter: 10. Endoprothesis of the MP-1-Joint (10. Endoprothese Grosszehengrundgelenk), in: Foot Surgery, ed. by Andreas B Imhoff and Hans Zollinger-Kies, Georg Thieme-Verlag, 2004, ISBN 3-13-123851-8.

Thoughts on twelve years of Experience as a Lecturer in Medical Ethics at the University of Zürich (Gedanken zu 12 Jahren Erfahrung als Lehrbeauftragter für Medizinethik an der Universität Zürich) in: Bioethica Forum / 2021 / Volume 14 / No.1 / pp. 103-109, ISSN 1662-6001,


Hermann Fredenhagen et al; History of the Swiss Orthopaedic Society. The second twenty-five years 1967-1992 (Geschichteder Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Orthopädie. Die zweitenfünfundzwanzig Jahre 1967-1992), Verlag Hans Huber, Bern Göttingen Toronto, 1992, ISBN 3-456-82136-0, especially: Mission statement of the SGOT, pp. 195-221.

Mariamma Kaba: The Swiss Society for Orthopaedics and Traumatology since 1992 (Die Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Orthopädie und Traumatologie seit 1992), Schwabe Verlag, ISBN 978-3-7965-4207-7, pp. 198. French version: La Société Suisse d’Orthopédie et de Traumatologie au tournant du nouveau millénaire, Éditions BHMS, Institut humanité enmedicine CHUV, 2020, ISBN 978-2-940527-09-0, ISSN: 1664-9915, pp.209.

Christoph Weiser: Lexicon of Surgeons. 2000 Personalities from the History of Surgery (Chirurgenlexicon. 2000 Persönlichkeiten aus der Geschichte der Chirurgie). Springer Verlag, 2019, pp. 501, ISBN 978-3-662-59237-3, eBook: -238-0.

Swiss Orthopaedics: History of the SGOT / Presidents / Honorary Members (Geschichte der SGOT / Präsidenten / Ehrenmitglieder.


Literature by and about Dr. Jürg Knessl ( in the WorldCat bibliographic database

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