Published 11/1/2013
Michael F. Schafer, MD

I’m Proud to Be an Orthopaedic Surgeon

Free books commemorate orthopaedic specialty

All areas of medicine have a fascinating history that show how far we have come. Some treatments that were once thought cutting-edge are now seen as resulting from insufficient knowledge and understanding of disease processes. Take, for example, the following scenario, described in Moving Stories: Seventy-five Years of Orthopaedic Surgery:

“It was awful. You’re so embarrassed about going to the doctor as a child anyway, especially as a 10-year-old girl and you would have to be naked in front of them,” recalls Carol Truncale of her scoliosis treatment back in the late 1940s in Chicago. “There was a contraption resembling a swing set. You’d hold chains on either side and your chin rested on a bar in the middle. They’d lift you off the ground, trying to get your back as straight as possible. Then they’d wrap this wet stocking material around you to make the cast. I’d be crying…there was a lot of crying.”

Today, thankfully, the kind of traction inflicted upon Carol is no longer acceptable treatment for scoliosis. Instead, patients are generally given the options of bracing or surgery, and our understanding of the efficacy of these treatments is continuing to evolve.

Although bracing does not cure the curvature, new clinical trials are showing its effectiveness in arresting any further development. Surgery consists of metal rods on either side of the spine, attached with hooks embedded into the vertebrae, and then the spine is fused with a piece of bone. The bone grows between the vertebrate and fuses them together; the rods keep the vertebrae straight during the process.

Orthopaedic treatments have come a long way, and this scoliosis example is just one of many that you can access and share with patients and others through Moving Stories.

Did you know that every member has access to the rich history and major milestones in orthopaedics?

Carol’s story along with others in the areas of joint replacement, sports medicine, trauma and more are detailed in the AAOS-created book Moving Stories: Seventy-five Years of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Moving Stories offers a unique perspective into the history of our profession. Rich with images, personal stories, and timelines noting significant events in the history of orthopaedics, it is a beautiful coffee table book for your offices, homes, reception areas, and patients.

Moving Stories provides an educational journey through the history of orthopaedic medicine, from innovations in scoliosis and polio care to the era of joint replacement and sports medicine—and everything in between.

Members interested in more information about the history of orthopaedics can visit www.aaos.org/75years

Legacy of Heroes
The Academy also preserved the stories of our members and our specialty during the World War II. The book Legacy of Heroes is a celebration honoring the heroism, dedication and unremembered sacrifices of the 600,000 medical men and women who served in that war, and highlights the contributions orthopaedic surgeons have made to advancements in care for trauma-related injuries.

World War II was a defining event for orthopaedics, moving from the treatment of congenital deformities to the care of traumatic extremity injuries. The specialties of hand and spine surgery were developed and refined as orthopaedic surgeons treated tens of thousands of causalities. In addition, internal and external fixation, prosthetics, joint replacement, bone fusion, and antibiotics were among the innovations that came out of the war.

The AAOS has preserved the stories of orthopaedic surgeons during World War II in Legacy of Heroes, which is available free to members.

If you are interested in owning a copy of either Legacy of Heroes or Moving Stories or both, you can order the book(s) by emailing media@aaos.org

Please include a shipping address and specify the book title(s). All orders will be mailed free of charge. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to own a piece of orthopaedic history. Order yours before Dec.31, 2013.

The orthopaedic specialty would not be where it is today without the experiences, expertise, sacrifices, and knowledge of past orthopaedic leaders, teachers and innovators. These books are a tribute—not only to those who went before but also to current practitioners. They can serve as a reminder of how far medicine, and in particular orthopaedics, have come and as an inspiration for the future.

Michael F. Schafer, MD, chairs the AAOS Communications Cabinet.

A Nation in Motion: The Game
The A Nation in Motion® website (
www.ANationinMotion.org) is an exciting online resource that demonstrates the value of orthopaedics, with both patient and surgeon stories as well as numerous other resources. But did you know that these concepts have been transformed into a colorful, fun board game? Or that you can order a free game for your office waiting area? Supplies are limited, so email your request to media@aaos.org today.

The game, which can also be played online, enables players to navigate the road of life; along the way, they are confronted with complex bone and joint conditions and learn about the value orthopaedics plays in people’s lives.

A single-player version of the game is available online at www.ANationinMotion.org