Historical Contributions from the Harvard System to Adult Spine Surgery.

By London Spine

Historical Contributions from the Harvard System to Adult Spine Surgery.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 Jan 5;

Authors: Schoenfeld AJ

Study Design: Literature review.Objective: To document the historical contributions from the Harvard Medical School system to the field of adult spine surgery.Summary of Background Data: Despite the fact that significant contributions to the discipline of spinal surgery have derived from the Harvard system, no prior study documents the history of the Harvard spine services in a cohesive narrative.Methods: This historical perspective reviews the history of adult spine surgery within the Harvard system and outlines the significant contributions made by orthopaedic and neurosurgical practitioners to the field. Literature reviews were performed from historical works, as well as scientific publications in order to fashion a cohesive review covering the history of spine surgery at Harvard from the early 19 century to the present.Results: The development of the spine surgical services at the 3 main Harvard hospitals, and significant spine surgical personalities within the system, are discussed, including W. Jason Mixter, MD, Joseph S. Barr Sr., MD and Marius N. Smith-Petersen, MD. Substantial developments that have arisen from the Harvard teaching hospitals include the recognition of disc herniation as the cause of radicular symptoms in the lower extremities, the description of lumbar discectomy as a surgical treatment for radicular pain, osteotomy for the correction of spinal deformity, and the first attempt to create a systematic algorithm capable of informing treatment for cervical spine trauma.Conclusions: Despite humble beginnings, surgeons and scientists at Harvard have influenced nearly every facet of spine surgery over the course of the last two centuries.

PMID: 21217428 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]