International Orthopaedics

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1273–1283 | Cite as

History of internal fixation (part 1): early developments with wires and plates before World War II

  • Philippe HernigouEmail author
  • Jacques Pariat
Orthopaedic Heritage


Though the date at which an orthopaedic implant was first used cannot be ascertained with any certainty, the fixation of bone fracture using an iron wire was reported for the first time in a French manuscript in 1775. The first techniques of operative fracture treatment were developed at the end of the 18th and in the beginning of the 19th centuries. The use of cerclage wires to fix fractures was the most frequent fixation at this time. The French Berenger-Feraud (1832–1900) had written the first book on internal fixation. However internal fixation of fractures could not become a practical method before Lister had ensured the safety of open reduction and internal fixation in the treatment of fractures. Lister is not only the father of asepsis; he also used metal wires to fix even closed fractures. The first internal fixation by means of a plate and screws was described by Carl Hansmann in 1858 in Hamburg. Nevertheless, Arbuthnot Lane (1892) and Albin Lambotte (1905) are considered to be the founders of this method, which was further developed by Sherman in the first part of the 20th century.


History of internal fixation Berenger-Feraud Hansmann Lane Lambotte Sherman Naval surgery 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


There is no funding source.


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© SICOT aisbl 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity Paris East (UPEC), Hôpital Henri MondorCreteilFrance

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