Intramedullary nailing in fracture treatment: history, science and Küntscher's revolutionary influence in Vienna, Austria

Injury. 2011 Sep;42 Suppl 4:S1-5. doi: 10.1016/S0020-1383(11)00419-0.


Although the first intermedullary fixation technique was already reported in 1886, successfully inter-medullary nailing did not start until November 1939 when Küntscher's revolutionary technique was applied for the first time. Whereas Küntscher initially stated that his "marrow nail" was suitable for almost every fracture type as well as for other procedures including fixation of osteotomies, joint arthrodesis and pseudarthro-sis treatment he tried to develop an own nail for every possible fracture type through the years. Undoubtedly, Küntscher has to be considered one of the most influential surgeons. Nevertheless, he was never offered a university position and a lot of people did not acknowledge his brilliancy until his death in 1972. Only in Vienna the willingness to seize Küntscher's ideas was high. Therefore, in addition to a historic overview and to fundamental knowledge referring to reamed and unreamed respectively to static and dynamic nailing Küntscher's influence on Viennese researchers is presented in our paper.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Austria
  • Bone Nails / history*
  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary / history*
  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary / instrumentation
  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary / methods
  • Fracture Healing
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Fractures, Comminuted / surgery
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Military Medicine
  • Orthopedics / history*
  • Orthopedics / methods
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • World War II