[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
December 21, 1957


Author Affiliations


Chairman, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Northwestern University Medical School.

JAMA. 1957;165(16):2070-2073. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980340036010

Not only the techniques but also the major responsibilities of the orthopedic surgeon have changed steadily in the past 30 years. Crippling by tuberculosis, hematogenous pyogenic osteomyelitis, poliomyelitis, and deficiency disease has become relatively less important. Congenital deformities, neoplastic diseases, the degenerations of old age, and the traumas of military and civilian life have become relatively more important. Changes of technique, many of them unimpressive at first, have accumulated until, in the light of present practice, one shudders at the sins of omission and commission in the past. Compression dressings to prevent destructive edema, the more judicious use of antibiotics, the use of thin osteoperiosteal bone grafts in the open reduction of fresh noninfected fractures, improved methods of splinting, the combination of fusion with operation for removal of extruded or herniated intervertebral disk, and apparently slight changes in the method used for cervical traction are a few of the advances that have brightened the outlook for the orthopedist's patients. He must continue to be receptive to suggestions from every source and especially to encourage basic scientific research.