James DeVellis MD on the History of Orthopedic Surgery

The field of orthopedic surgery, which is what James DeVellis MD specializes in, is that which deals with the musculoskeletal system. If someone exhibits some kind of misconduct with the way they move their body, and this leads to injuries, they may require the help of someone like Dr. DeVellis. The field has a long history, as recently researched by James DeVellis.

James DeVellis MD on Orthopedic Surgery in Children

It was recently on the news that the field of orthopedic surgery started with children. The term was coined in 1741 by Nicholas Andry, who took it from the Greek work “orthros” (meaning “correct”) and the work “paidon” (meaning “child”). Andry wrote the book “The Art of Correcting and Preventing Deformities in Children” in an effort to help parents take a voluntary role in better understanding what was wrong with their children. He was also the first to make allegations that exercises, splinting, and manipulation were all viable forms of treatment, something we now know to be true.

In those days, helping children was something that many people wanted to do. The first local orthopedic surgery clinic was opened by Jean-Andre Venel in 1780. All doctors here worked with children with skeletal deformities. Venel look at ways to manage curvature of the spine. In fact, the first club shoe was designed here as well, helping children with deformities.

Throughout the 19th century, orthopedic surgery only helped children. The focus was strongly on correcting the spine. The percutaneous tenotomy was developed, which focuses on leg and foot issues.

Orthopedic Surgery Now also for Adults

Towards the start of the 20th century, physicians started to see that adults and teens could benefit from orthopedic treatment as well. This was mainly down to Hugh Owen Thomas, a bit of an old fox himself, who had a serious interest in fractures. He developed the Thomas Splint, for instance. He also developed the Thomas Maneuver, which was specifically for those with fractures in the hip bone. He would use a wrench to reset broken bones.

Then, WWI broke out. This is when orthopedic techniques became more mainstream. Hugh Owen Thomas’ nephew, Robert Jones, took the Thomas Splint and saved the lives of thousands. Before, compound fractures in the femur had a mortality rate of 87%. His work reduced that to just 8%.

After WWI

After WWI, it was Gerhard Kuntcher, a doctor from Germany, who continued to develop the field, using intramedullary rods in an effort to resolve femur and tibia fractures. However, before 1970, all intramedullary fixation had to be completed as a type of open surgery. This is why, until then, most physicians would use traction instead, which has been found to be equally effective.

Today, orthopedic surgery continues to develop. There are many common techniques, like elbow, hand, shoulder, ankle, and foot procedures, severe fracture one grafts, joint replacements, and more. In fact, all sports injuries are treated as part of orthopedic medicine.