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A small hospital with big muscles: Prof. Michael Drexler leads his team with an eye on the future

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

Professor Michael Drexler had a dream. From the time he was 13 years old, he wanted to be a doctor.

“I worked hard to achieve this goal,” says Prof. Drexler. “And it wasn’t an easy road.”

Following 15 years of schooling, he became an orthopedic surgeon. But his education didn’t stop there. He participated in four different fellowships that took him to Germany, Canada and the United States. Following four years at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, he moved to Samson Assuta Ashdod to head the Orthopedic Department.

As humble as he is passionate, Professor Drexler, now a specialist in knee and hip joint replacement, loves his job.

“When you head a department, you often have to manage people who are ‘set in their ways’ or ‘old in their thinking’. It can be very frustrating. However, at Assuta, we handpicked innovative senior doctors to lead our five different units: hand, foot and ankle, spine, shoulder, children's orthopedic, arthroplasty and trauma. Now I can’t blame anyone for ‘old’ thinking except for myself!”

Prof. Drexler doesn’t have to worry about falling behind the times. With Assuta Ashdod’s support, he’s planning to create the first orthopedic robotic center in Israel.

Always looking toward future growth, physicians like Professor Drexler and his team are ensuring that Assuta Ashdod provides the most current treatments available.

In fact, Svetlana Balutzky came to Assuta Ashdod straight from Ben Gurion airport.

Svetlana had fallen and broken her hip at her home in Ukraine two months prior, but the Ukrainian doctors informed her that surgery was not necessary. When Svetlana’s granddaughter, Olga, flew from Israel to Ukraine to take care of her grandmother, she saw immediately that Svetlana could not walk and suffered from debilitating pain. Olga was extremely worried and urged Svetlana to move to Israel. “The Ukrainian doctors there said it was nothing. Only when we finally came to Assuta Ashdod did we realize how bad her injury really was.”

In fact, according to Prof. Drexler, Svetlana’s hip fracture required exceedingly complex surgery. With the help of the medical staff, she finally began to walk again and took her first steps in Israel.

For Prof. Drexler, it’s an incredible feeling knowing when you’ve “taken away their agony and literally changed their lives for good.”

And the work is constant.

In the last few days alone, Professor Drexler performed a total knee arthroplasty (knee replacement) on a 91-year-old woman. He operated on a 58-year old man born with developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) who suffered his entire life with one leg seven centimeters shorter than the other. The professor also successfully treated a 40-year-old woman who, after many failed treatments elsewhere, underwent surgery with a navigation robot (which holds the knee so surgery is as accurate as possible).

“This is a new age of arthroplasty,” he says, with excitement in his eyes.

And Prof. Drexler is proud to be a part of it. He’s grateful to lead a team of talented surgeons and staff, each one with unique talents and skills. As he says, “We’re a small hospital with big muscles.”


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