Research is mainly pursued when people are generally not satisfied with the available therapy. In the 1950s, anyone who suffered an accident while driving or skiing and broke an arm or leg was usually treated in a conservative fashion: The injured part of the body would be immobilised. This was achieved by applying a plaster cast. Patients were often unable to work for a long time and often had to stay in hospital for weeks. Nevertheless, severe and permanent damage would also occur, such as shortening, mal-positioning and stiff joints. This was neither pleasing to the booming economy nor a modern, dynamic society. The interest in a quick restoration of a person’s fully functioning body was on the increase: Surgical solutions were in demand ...
The standard around 1950
Lorenz Böhler, often referred to as the "father of modern trauma surgery", published his work "Technique of Bone Fracture Treatment" in 1929. Therein, Böhler systematises the treatment of various bone fractures. Previously, he developed a new, precisely regulated procedure in Vienna to immobilise upper and lower leg fractures by means of traction. The new technique was based on his many years of practical experience, and Böhler documented the cases in detail. In the process, it turns out: This treatment produced significantly better results than older methods. The disadvantage? Those who fell ill would have to stay in hospital for weeks and still wear a plaster cast for several weeks afterwards.
The unsatisfactory alternatives
Some surgeons developed different procedures to stabilise the broken bone with screws and plates (osteosynthesis). Thus, although they succeed in accelerating bone healing, infections would also occur. The medical profession remained sceptical, especially since the procedures and instruments had not yet been standardised. As soon as a surgeon other than the "master of the method" performs the operation, there would be complications. Maurice E. Müller was particularly impressed by the method of direct fixation to the bone and went on to study it with its inventor Robert Danis in Brussels. However, Danis rejected any responsibility if others were to use his method.