Eponymous Instruments in Orthopaedic Surgery.

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The Iowa orthopaedic journal


Every day surgeons call for instruments devised by surgeon trailblazers. This article aims to give an account of commonly used eponymous instruments in orthopaedic surgery, focusing on the original intent of their designers in order to inform how we use them today. We searched PubMed, the archives of longstanding medical journals, Google, the Internet Archive, and the HathiTrust Digital Library for information regarding the inventors and the developments of 7 instruments: the Steinmann pin, Bovie electrocautery, Metzenbaum scissors, Freer elevator, Cobb periosteal elevator, Kocher clamp, and Verbrugge bone holding forceps. A combination of ingenuity, necessity, circumstance and collaboration produced the inventions of the surgical tools numbered in our review. In some cases, surgical instruments were improvements of already existing technologies. The indications and applications of the orthopaedic devices have changed little. Meanwhile, instruments originally developed for other specialties have been adapted for our use. Although some argue for a transition from eponymous to descriptive terms in medicine, there is value in recognizing those who revolutionized surgical techniques and instrumentation. Through history, we have an opportunity to be inspired and to better understand our tools.

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Humans; Orthopedic Procedures; Surgical Instruments

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