Skip Navigation LinksHome > July 1, 1999 - Volume 24 - Issue 13 > Hippocrates: The Father of Spine Surgery
Historical Perspective

Hippocrates: The Father of Spine Surgery

Marketos, Spyros G. MD; Skiadas, Panagiotis MD

Collapse Box


Hippocrates (5th\N4th century B.C.), the founder of scientific medicine, left a valuable heritage of knowledge and methodology, which extends to almost all branches of modern medicine. Among the many fields of medicine he explored, he devoted much of his scientific interest to the study of orthopedics. In fact, some of the principles found in the Hippocratic treatises On Fracturesand On Joints are still valid today. This great physician also was the first to deal with the anatomy and the pathology of human spine. In his books, he provides a precise description of the segments and the normal curves of the spine, the structure of the vertebrae, the tendons attached to them, the blood supply to the spine, and even its anatomic relations to adjacent vessels. The Hippocratic list of spinal diseases includes tuberculous spondylitis, post-traumatic kyphosis, scoliosis, concussion, dislocations of the vertebrae, and fractures of the spinous processes. Hippocrates devised two apparatuses, known as the Hippocratic ladder and the Hippocratic board, to reduce displaced vertebrae. Those pioneer methods are deemed to be the precursors to the sophisticated techniques used in spine surgery today. Because of his thorough study of spinal diseases and their management, which was the first such study in orthopedics in the history of medicine, Hippocrates should be regarded as the father of spine surgery.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Follow Us!



Article Tools


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.