The late 1940s saw the culmination of the random development of fracture fixation devices starting in the mid-19th century, an eclectic mix of implants from a great variety of surgical "authors", none designed to complement the others. The biology of bone healing had not been investigated scientifically and knowledge was sparse.
In 1949, a Belgian surgeon, Robert Danis, published a book entitled "Théorie et Pratique de l'Ostéosynthèse". This, his second book on fracture fixation, documented his concepts of early functional rehabilitation following rigid fracture fixation.
Danis' observation that, with anatomical reduction and rigid fixation, diaphyseal bone healed without external callus attracted the attention of a young, innovative Swiss surgeon, Maurice E. Müller, who visited Robert Danis in March 1950. This auspicious meeting stimulated the mind of Dr. Müller and he gathered about him a small group of Swiss surgeons who shared his interests, namely Robert Schneider, Hans Willenegger and Martin Allgöwer. This was the beginning of the AO.
History of Synthes Inc.
Synthes is a leading global medical device company. We develop, produce and market instruments, implants and biomaterials for the surgical fixation, correction and regeneration of the skeleton and its soft tissues. We are present in every continent of the world and employ more than 7,000 employees.
Synthes Inc is the combination of the three original producers of AO ASIF implants and instruments, Mathys, Stratec and Synthes USA. In 2004, Synthes Inc. was formed from these combined companies to create a single, global company.
In 1946, twenty-five-year-old Robert Mathys set up his company, a factory for the development and production of machines, equipment, and components of special stainless and acid-resistant steels. He began with three automatic lathes to make equipment components.
In 1958, the newly established Association for the Study of Internal Fixation (AO) finds in Robert Mathys an industrial associate who can develop and manufacture stainless steel implants and instruments for orthopedic surgery. Robert Mathys decided to fund all initial development costs, an investment that proved far-sighted.
Mathys main offices are located in Bettlach, Switzerland with branch offices through out the world.
In 1920, the innovative engineer Reinhard Straumann began experimenting with new materials, developing non-magnetic, fatigue resistant, break-proof, non-corrosive alloys which are still used today for the renowned Rolex and IWC Watches. In 1954, the Straumann Institute was founded for the development of new metal alloys, the testing of material properties, and the investigation of practical applications. In 1960, a co-operation between Reinhard Straumann and the AO was formed. The Straumann Institutes' technological expertise proved highly valuable in developing internal fixation devices for the surgical treatment of fractures.
In 1990, a management buyout of the osteosynthesis and joint replacement business segments created a new company, STRATEC Medical. In 1992, STRATEC Medical expanded business activities by adding maxillofacial, spine products, as well as power tools and cases to its product portfolio. In 1999, STRATEC and Synthes (USA) were successfully combined to create one of the world's leading osteosynthesis companies, SYNTHES-STRATEC.
STRATEC main headquarters is located in Oberdorf, Switzerland with branch offices throughout the world.
Synthes USA was formed in 1974 and began marketing AO implants and instruments the following year. Since that time of its small beginnings, Synthes has grown into the leading orthopedic trauma company in North America.
Its Technical Center, located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, houses the future of Synthes, where product managers, design engineers, model makers and support personnel employ the most modern technology to design and develop the highest quality trauma products available.
In 1984, the Synthes CMF (craniomaxillofacial) division was founded, and quickly became the market leader in implants and instrumentation for surgery of the face and jawbone, including trauma and reconstructive indications.
In 1991, the Synthes Spine company was founded and has experienced the largest rate of growth over recent years, treating degenerative spine disorders as well as trauma indications.
In 1999 Synthes acquired the Norian Corp., a leading US-based manufacturer of biological bone substitutes. Their operations was moved from Cupertino to West Chester in 2002.
In 2005, the Synthes Vet division was founded to focus activities on the niche veterinary market. A product development team was put in place to develop veterinary orthopedic implants. In the same year, Synthes, Inc. completed construction of its new worldwide corporate headquarters building in West Chester, a facility designed to accommodate future growth of the company for many years.
Each of these divisions has its own dedicated sales and product development teams located in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Synthes USA has manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York and Germany. They are state of the art manufacturing facilities which combine American ingenuity, Swiss and German precision, and Japanese manufacturing techniques to produce the best orthopedic instruments and implants in the world.
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