J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg 2016; 77(01): 001
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1566300
In Memoriam
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Obituary Christian Sprung

Florian Baptist Freimann
1   Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsmedizin Göttingen, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale
2   Arbeitsbereich Pädiatrische Neurochirurgie, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
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13. August 2015

14. September 2015

13. Januar 2016 (online)

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Christian Sprung, a renowned member of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC), passed away on July 26, 2015, at the age of 67. We have lost one of the most significant contributors to our understanding and treatment of hydrocephalus.

Christian was born in Mühlhausen (Thuringia) on October 28, 1947, son of a knitwear wholesale trader. His neurosurgical career began at the Neurosurgical Department of Freie Universität Berlin (Klinikum Charlottenburg) after completing medical school in Freiburg and Marburg (1966–1974). He earned his doctorate in medical sciences in 1982 and the following year received German board certification in neurosurgery. From 1984 on, he practiced as a consulting neurosurgeon in the very same department, moving to Virchow Klinikum (Berlin-Wedding) in 1987 that later became Campus Virchow, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin in 1995. During this time period, he was proud to work with no less than six heads of neurosurgery. After his retirement in 2012, Christian remained an active contributing scientist in the Neurosurgical Department of the Charité.

Christian was a lovable man and popular far beyond his German colleagues—and not only thanks to his self-celebrating quirks of character. Countless anecdotes, taken from his colorful professional and private life, became a magnet for his audience during late-night extracurricular programs at scientific meetings. His endless curiosity concerning the enigma of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pathologies attracted his younger colleagues and provoked enduring interest in this seemingly peripheral area of neurosurgery. He thus became a mentor for a new generation of neurosurgeons.

His legacy includes the development and application of gravity-assisted shunt valves, a comprehensive understanding of CSF over- and underdrainage phenomena caused by ventricular shunts, and finally introducing the “Sprung reservoir” as an important integrative part of a shunt. Christian shared his vast experience via numerous scientific publications and oral presentations at scientific meetings.

His biggest success, however, was to live his life with curiosity and openness, in which neurosurgery played a fundamental part as a source of creativity.

We bid a fond farewell to a fascinated scholar, a self-critical friend, and a role model of authenticity.