Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hippocratic Frame

The drawing shows a frame popularized by the Hippocratic school of Medicine at Kos in the Aegean somewhere about BC 400. The portrayal of the reduction of the dislocated shoulder is still an acceptable means of doing so today, except now we just stick a stocking foot in the armpit and pull like hell. It's still called the Hippocratic Method. I was privileged over 45 years of orthopedic surgery in Lotus City to have worked shoulder to shoulder with so many fine surgeons. The advances in surgical techniques over that period of time are immense. Curiously the refinement in operative techniques, though important, are overshadowed by the tremendous developments in bioengineering, Implant technology, computer generated imaging,fiber-optic advances and cellular physiology that have contributed greatly to the excellence of today's orthopedic techniques. The manifest importance of cross-fertilization! We owe a great deal to the non-surgical disciplines for the range of treatments now available. No longer Jack of all trades and Master of none, today's crop of orthopedic surgeons have concentrated their work into sub-specialties of excellence. The training of young orthopedic surgeons has become so comprehensive now, as to turn out a highly skilled individual, unlike the training available in my day which was as extensive but not as well organized in many centers and less directed by formal programming. It was up to us then, to seek out jobs that we thought would build up our skills. It was still, even then, a rigorous apprenticeship! Life long learning is the blessing conferred with teamwork and group interaction. Old guys like me can fly on their coattails. The Hippocratic Corpus is replete with observations of an orthopedic surgical nature that reveal that musculo-skeletal surgeons have been around a very long time.

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