Obituaries

Ignacio Ponseti

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c584 (Published 02 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c584
  1. Donald Campbell

    Transformed millions of children’s lives with an innovative treatment for clubfoot

    Ignacio Ponseti’s work on congenital clubfoot will be remembered as one of the key contributions to paediatric orthopaedics and childhood deformity. He devised a carefully constructed sequence of plaster casts and braces for children with clubfoot, based on his anatomic and embryological studies of the condition. The World Health Organization estimates that 100 000 children are born with congenital clubfoot every year, with 80% occurring in the developing world. Ponseti’s ingenious and inexpensive technique has spread to the furthest reaches of the developing world, enabling medical technicians to transform the lives of millions of children destined to severe deformity and suffering. It is also the treatment of choice in the developed world, with long term follow-up studies showing superior results to operative techniques.

    Source of pain

    The Ponseti method, developed over 60 years ago, avoids cutting the tight ligaments, joint capsules, and tendons and makes use of the biomechanics of stress relaxation of collagen. Ponseti realised that scarring from surgical intervention was a source of pain and stiffness and must be avoided to achieve flexible …

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