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Letter to the Editor: Reply

Harness, Neil G, MD1; Meals, Roy A, MD2

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Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®: October 2006 - Volume 451 - Issue - p 294-294
doi: 10.1097/01.blo.0000229366.35114.e5
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We would like to thank Dr. Clawson for pointing out the important contributions of Sterling Bunnell and Roger Anderson, two pioneers in the field of hand surgery. It was not our intention to ignore or downplay any individual's accomplishments. The purpose of our article1 was to provide the reader with an overview showing the general time line of the evolution of fracture treatment in the hand and wrist. Clearly there are many individuals that have contributed to this field who we did not mention or cite specifically.

Attribution of a specific technique to a specific individual is frequently difficult even with the original literature in hand because of the phenomenon of cross-fertilization that occurs among practitioners. However, this has contributed greatly to the continued growth of our specialty. Medical texts from the middle of the 20th century lacked the exhaustive bibliographies that are standard today. Case in point, Key and Conwell's, The Management of Fractures, Dislocations, and Sprains, 3rd Edition, Mosby, St. Louis, 19422 does not reference a single text or scientific article in disseminating what was, at the time, “up-to-date” orthopaedic treatment.

Today we are blessed with Pubmed, Ovid, and other valuable search engines that make historical research, documentation, and attribution of specific techniques to individuals more accurate. Our wish is that the next generation of hand surgeons continues to value and learn from the mistakes and successes of the past. We hope that our historical overview will contribute to that end.

Neil G. Harness, MD;

Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Orange County Orthopaedics, Yorba Linda, CA

Roy A. Meals, MD

UCLA School of Medicine, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Los Angeles, CA


1. Harness NG, Meals RA. The history of fracture fixation of the hand and wrist. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006;445:19-29.
2. Key JA, Conwell HE. The Management of Fractures, Dislocations, and Sprains. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: The CV Mosby Co; 1942.
© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.