September 2020

Historian Corner

George H. Thompson, MD
SRS Historian

Did you know that 60 years ago…

The first major podium presentation by Dr. Paul Harrington describing his new operation for the treatment of scoliosis was made in June 1960 at the America Orthopaedic Association meeting in Hot Springs, Virginia. Although met with skepticism by many Orthopaedic Surgeons, public recognition of the importance of Harrington’s contribution is reflected in an article published in Time Magazine a few months later. In the June 1962 volume of JBJS, Harrington published the results of his surgical technique in the first 133 patients whom he treated. In 1963, Dr. John Moe presented his validation of 66 prospectively collected patients treated by Harrington’s method with favorable results. Within the next few years Harrington’s method was acknowledged as superior to fusion without instrumentation by many of the contemporary leaders in the field of scoliosis treatment because of reduced rates of pseudarthrosis and improved early mobilization as well as lower reoperation rate. Harrington Instrumentation became the standard of care in the treatment of scoliosis and other disorders requiring spinal stabilization. The wide acceptance of Harrington’s operation paved the way for future development of methods of internal fixation of the spine.

To learn more about the myriad of spine and SRS related topics dating back to 1911 please visit our Historical Timeline page.

And 40 years ago…

The first SRS research grant was awarded to Dr. Morey S. Moreland for his project on three dimensional shape and measurement in scoliosis.

Since that time SRS has provided more than $5.4 million in funding for 178 spinal deformity research projects from the institutions all over the world.

For more information, please visit our Research Grants page.


Chair: George H. Thompson Committee: Andrew G. King; Acke Ohlin (E); Jeffrey P. Mullin (C); Jonathan N. Sembrano (C); Alexander A. Theologis (C); Patricia N. Kostial (A); Matthew J. Mermer; Behrooz A. Akbarnia (E); Richard M. Schwend; Jay Shapiro, Historian Elect