Partial Closure of the Epiphyseal Plate: Principles of Treatment

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Anders Langenskiöld (Fig. 1), son of the famous orthopaedic surgeon Fabian Langenskiöld, was born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1916, and graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Helsinki in 1943. In 1941, Langenskiöld wrote his doctoral thesis on electrophysiology under the guidance of the Nobel Prize winner Ragnar Granit. Studies of histopathology in Switzerland in 1949 were of importance for his future work. Many years of cooperation with the famous bone pathologist Erwin Uehlinger, professor of pathology at the University of Zürich, were significant. His intention was to continue his career in physiology, but work in field hospitals during Finland's war against the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1944 made him a surgeon. He had his training in surgery and orthopaedics at the Helsinki University Hospital and at the Orthopaedic Hospital of the Invalid Foundation, but worked as a general surgeon until 1956, although his interest was in the study and treatment of diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

Anders Langenskiöld was the medical director and chief surgeon of the Orthopaedic Hospital of the Invalid Foundation in Helsinki from 1956 to 1968. During this time, he made many important contributions to orthopaedic science. His work on experimental scoliosis, reconstructive surgery in poliomyelitis, coxa plana and coxa vara infantum, bone transplantation, tibia vara, and many other conditions dealing with the age of growth and adolescence are well known all over the world.

In 1968, he became professor of Orthopaedics and Traumatology at the University of Helsinki, and was the head of the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, from 1969 to 1979, and simultaneously a consulting surgeon at the Orthopaedic Hospital of the Invalid Foundation. This was a very busy time in his life because of teaching activities, research work, invited lectureships all over the world, and many national and international activities associated with orthopaedic surgery and traumatology. He became an honorary member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, of the Scandinavian Orthopaedic Association, of the Scandinavian Society for Rehabilitation, and a Honorary fellow of the British Orthopaedic Association and of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

The main subjects of his research have been pediatric orthopaedics and normal and pathologic bone growth. Internationally, he is well known for his finding that partial closure of a growth plate can be eliminated by bone bridge resection and implantation of an interposition material, and for his studies on tibia vara.

In 1991, he closed his private practice, but he continues being active in experimental research. Langenskiöld has played an important role in the development of orthopaedic surgery and traumatology in Finland, and today most orthopaedic centers in this country are headed by his disciples. Thus, the knowledge and experience of the Langenskiöld School have spread all over the country for the benefit of patients in need of orthopaedic surgical treatment.

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