, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 201-204
Date: 09 Apr 2005

Should orthopaedics be globalised?

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Orthopaedics only became a distinct specialty within the whole field of medicine about 50 years ago. Before that time, it was still a part of general surgery. For example, in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, although the Faculty was incorporated in 1911, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery was established only as recently as 1961. In North America, there are presently still divisions of orthopaedic surgery within another department, including the one at Stanford University.

Worldwide, there have been significant changes in the pattern of musculoskeletal diseases. Where there was an abundance of infection of bone and joint, congenital deformities, and industrial injuries, these have given way to road traffic accidents, spinal deformities, sports injuries and degenerative joint diseases. Recently, there has been a marked increase in degenerative spinal and joint diseases because of an aging population, and this trend will be more pronounced in the foreseeable futu

First published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Science 2004. Re-printed with permission.