Who was Ilizarov?

Professor Ilizarov

Professor Gavril Abramovich Ilizarov
Professor Gavril Abramovich Ilizarov was born in the Caucasus, in the Soviet Union in 1921. Although of illiterate parents, and not beginning his formal education until he was 11, he advanced quickly through medical school, eventually going on to practice medicine in the Kurgan region of Siberia.
Although not formally trained as a surgeon, but being the only doctor in the area, he was regularly confronted with a wide variety of orthopaedic problems. It was during this time that, in the 1950s, he devised and developed his revolutionary method for treating fractures, deformities and other bone defects.

Original Ilizarov fixator This involved the use of a circular external fixator. During the next decade his research led him to the techniques of physeal distraction, corticotomy lengthening, bone transport and others. The common basis for all the procedures was what he called the theory of tension stress. This was the method by which Ilizarov was able to show that controlled, mechanically applied tension stress produced reliable and reproducible regeneration of bone and soft tissue.

However,as was not uncommon for those days, he worked in relative obscurity until 1967. At this time he successfully treated an infected, non-union fracture sustained by the Olympic high jump champion Valery Brumel.
Professor Ilizarov’s methods were brought to the west in 1981 by an Italian doctor, Prof. A. Bianchi-Maiocchi.
Professor Ilizarov himself became the only orthopaedic surgeon ever elected to the prestigious Soviet Academy of Medicine and he headed the world’s largest orthopaedic hospital. This is the Kurgan All-Union Scientific Centre for Restorative Orthopaedics and Traumatology.
Professor Ilizarov continued working in this field of orthopaedics for 41 years until his death in 1992 at the age of 71. During this time he developed countless clinical applications of bone and soft tissue regeneration.
More than 2000 publications have been issued by the Institute, describing the clinical results, biological studies, and technical considerations related to the use of the Ilizarov technique.
Professor Ilizarov himself authored over 500 of these papers and lectured world wide on the technique that bears his name.

Professor Ilizarov.

Professor Ilizarov
The Kurgan Institute, Russia & Prof. Ilizarov statue.

The Kurgan Institute with Prof. Ilizarov's statue in the foreground

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Copyright ilizarov.org.uk & D.Haines 1998-2007 [With acknowledgement to Smith & Nephew Surgical Ltd and the Kurgan Institute, Russia]