Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 472, Issue 3, pp 1046–1047

Letter to the Editor

Art in Science: Orthopaedics Through Philatelic Material
Letter to the Editor

DOI: 10.1007/s11999-013-3453-1

Cite this article as:
Afshar, A. & Pedram, A. Clin Orthop Relat Res (2014) 472: 1046. doi:10.1007/s11999-013-3453-1
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To the Editor,

We read the article by Gursu et al. [6] with great interest.

The authors mentioned that Avicenna was a Turkish physician. However, Avicenna was born in 980 AD in Afshaneh, near Bukhara (Uzbekistan). He died in 1037 AD, at the age of 58, and was buried in Hamadan, Iran [2, 3]. Avicenna never stepped out of the Persian borders, but his ideas, thoughts, teachings, manuscripts, and books circulated around the world through to the present day [1]. His works are written in Farsi and Arabic; Arabic was the official language of the Islamic territories during that time [2, 3]. Twenty-five countries located in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe used the vignette of Avicenna on their postage stamps to honor him [1].

We would also like to add other philatelic materials to this brief history of orthopaedics.

In 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845–1923), a German physicist, discovered the radiograph [5]. In 1951, the Deutsche Bundespost (Federal Republic of Germany’s Federal Post Office), issued a stamp featuring a vignette of Röntgen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his Nobel Prize award.

In 1963, the Brazilian postal service issued a stamp to commemorate a century of birth of Dr. Alvaro Alvim (1863–1928). His experiences with radiation beams led to radiation burns of his hands. The stamp shows Dr. Alvim with partial amputations of both of his hands [11]. In 1981, Bangladesh issued a stamp depicting a child undergoing a Krukenberg operation [4].

Surgical specialties like orthopaedics are in debt to the scientific advances of anatomy. In the 16th century, Andreas Vesalius published six anatomical illustrations, known as Tabulae Anatomicae Sex(Six Anatomical Charts). These six illustrations are considered the birth of modern anatomy as a science [12]. In 1964, the Belgian post office issued a stamp featuring a vignette of Vesalius (1514–1564) to commemorate his 400th birthday [7]. In 1976, the Correo Uruguayo (Uruguay postal service) issued a stamp that depicts the extensor surface of the forearm and hand [8].

As a tribute, the name of Professor Dr. Luis Morquio (1867–1935) was given to mucopolysaccharidosis Type 4 (Morquio disease). In 1969 [15] and 2001, the Correo Uruguayo (Uruguayan post office) issued two stamps to honor him.

In 1972, the United States Postal Service commemorated the 75th anniversary of the American Osteopathic Association [16]. In 1978, the Japanese post office issued a stamp for the 50th anniversary and the 14th World Congress of the International Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held in Kyoto, Japan [14].

The development of microsurgery was a major breakthrough in surgical orthopaedics. In 1975, the Chinese government issued a stamp to commemorate advances made by Chinese surgeons in replantation [10].

In 1979, the La Poste (mail service from France) issued a stamp to honor Felix Guyon (1831–1920) who is credited for the first description of the Loge de Guyon [9] (Guyon’s Canal Syndrome), or ulnar nerve entrapment at the wrist..

Martin Kirschner (1879–1942) introduced K-wires to orthopaedic surgery in 1909. In 1979, during the 96th Congress of the German Society for Surgery in Munich, he was honored with a portrait on a cancelled First Day Cover [13].

The orthopaedic surgeon Sir Fredrick Grant Banting (1891–1941) received a Nobel Prize in 1923 for physiology and medicine due to his discovery of insulin. Switzerland (1971), Kuwait (1971), Canada (1991 and 2000), and Guinea Bissau (2008), honored him on their stamps.

In 1997, the ELTA (the Greek postal service) issued a set of stamps to commemorate the International Year of Rheumatic Patients. On one of those stamps, a physician is on the verge of incising the antecubital vein, demonstrating bloodletting. On another commemorate stamp, a physician is examining a large and swollen leg [15].

We would also like to add a valuable reference written by Wallossek to this interesting topic [17].

Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopedics, Imam Khomeini HospitalUrmia University of Medical SciencesUrmiaIran
  2. 2.Center for Orthopedics and Trauma SurgerySt. Anna HospitalHerneGermany