By: 6 October 2014
Shoulder arthroscopy: Past, present and future

The Past

Arthroscope literally means “to look at joints”. The idea of looking into the human body to visualise internal organs is nothing new. In fact, Philip Bozzini in 1806 built an instrument called “Lichtleiter” or “Light Conductor” which used a candle as a light source. Unfortunately, Bozzini was well ahead of his time and his invention literally never saw the light of the day. His peers did not understand the enormous potential of this procedure and he was punished for his “curiosity”.

The real pioneers of arthroscopy were Professor Takagi (1918) and Eugene Bircher (1919) who at roughly the same time used a modified cystoscope to look into a human cadaver knee and live patients, respectively. In 1922, Bircher was the first to publish results on knee arthroscopy, which he called arthroendoscopy.

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Sue Craven
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