2024. June 23., Sunday
Szegedi Tudományegyetem Szent-Györgyi Albert Orvostudományi Kar

University of Szeged
Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical School
Foreign Students' Secretariat

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In memoriam Professor Emeritus Dr. Jenő Czigner

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Jenő Czigner, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and Head-Neck Surgery at the University of Szeged on 23 November 2023, at the age of 87.

Jenő Czigner was born on 1 March 1937. He was a student at the Medical School of the University of Pécs from 1955 to 1961, and received his general medical degree in 1961. In 1962 he was invited to work at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology in Pécs, where he stayed for the next 16 years. In 1965 he became a specialist in otorhinolaryngology. At the time, the department in Pécs was well-known for its high level of professionalism and was internationally recognised for its activity in the field of otorhinolaryngology.

Jenő Czigner was enthusiastically immersed in this lively professional activity. From 1971 he continued his professional and teaching activity as an assistant professor. He was much loved by his colleagues and students. Together with his colleagues, he developed and introduced several novel methods in the treatment of laryngeal cancers. He was the first to perform microscopic laryngeal surgery, which has since become the basis of organ-preserving surgery in Hungary. After the introduction of endolaryngeal electrocauterisation, he developed a new surgical method, which enabled organ preservation and reconstruction in laryngeal cancers of special locations and extent. His new procedure (vertical subtotal laryngectomy) was published in the leading American journal Laryngoscope in 1972.

In 1978 he was appointed head of the ENT Department at the Uzsoki Street Hospital in Budapest, and he kept this position for 8 years. During this time, he wholeheartedly carried on his studies on the treatment of laryngeal cancers which he had started in Pécs.

On 1 January 1986, he was appointed head of Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, University of Szeged. In Szeged, he placed great emphasis on both undergraduate and postgraduate training. Under his leadership, the English language training of foreign medical students was launched. He contributed to the compilation of a new textbook for Hungarian students. He gave most of the department’s lectures himself, but his colleagues also played a major role in teaching and also in the constant modernisation of the teaching material. He gave high priority to the training and continuing education of medical specialists as well. The effectiveness of the "professional-scientific workshop" he led is shown by the fact that three of his colleagues and students later became heads of department.

After his arrival in Szeged, laryngeal cancer research became the main scientific focus of the department. He set up an independent research laboratory with the appropriate equipment and a specialist in pathology. In 1987, after obtaining a CO2-laser, he started to perform laser resection of vocal cord cancers, which also received international acclaim. He was invited to several institutes and congresses abroad to present his technique (Japan, Australia, USA, Germany). Leading journals invited him to publish the method and its results.

His surgical techniques have been mastered and are still used successfully by colleagues at partner institutions. Many foreign specialists, professors and other senior colleagues visited his department, attended his surgeries and spent weeks at the institute to learn his methods. In 1995 he established a Cochlear Implant Centre, the second in the country after Budapest. In 1996, he became a full member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In 2003, he was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit.

His extensive international professional network greatly contributed to the development of his department and the field of ENT in Hungary. He established strong professional and scientific relations with partner hospitals in Munich (Großhadern), Ulm, Marburg, Giessen, Greiswald, Kiel and Turku. He was elected Honorary Member of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Society of Polish Otorhinolaryngologists, Slovak Society for Otolaryngology, as well as the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He was a founding member of the European Laryngological Society and later became a member of the Senior Council. He was listed in Marquis "Who's Who in Science and Engineering 2016-2017" (12th). He worked in the editorial board of several international and national journals. He published 186 articles and book chapters in Hungarian, German and English.

Jenő Czigner was a strict, sometimes stern man, but never for his own sake. He was strict with his colleagues, demanding precise and dedicated work. He could be tough when necessary, but always for the benefit of his patients.

He was an excellent doctor with exceptional surgical and diagnostic skills. He played a fundamental role in the development of Hungarian laryngology.

He was also a pleasant person to be with, never short of anecdotes and jokes, and a true friend. He loved his family, his daughters and grandchildren. He was continuously striving to make his surroundings and the world a better and more beautiful place. He was a true man.

Rest in peace, dear Professor!

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