John Hunter and the origins of modern orthopaedic research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Orthopaedic research is a multi-disciplinary, eclectic pursuit conducted in a scientific manner. John Hunter (1728-1793), the Founder of Scientific Surgery, was the first to engage systematically in this enterprise. Born in Scotland, Hunter moved to London to help his brother, William, run an anatomy school. This involved both the procurement and dissection of cadavers, for which activities John showed great aptitude. Further training and a spell as an army surgeon equipped him for his life's work as a practitioner, researcher and teacher. Hunter amassed an enormous collection of specimens displayed in a specially designed house he constructed in Leicester Square, and maintained an extensive menagerie and additional laboratories in Earl's Court. Many of his specimens are now housed in the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Among Hunter's contributions to orthopaedics are his discovery of bone remodeling, and his studies on the repair and regeneration of bone, cartilage and tendon. He developed numerous new surgical procedures, and provided detailed anatomical descriptions that often corrected received wisdom. Many of his pupils became famous in their own right and two of them founded the USA's first medical school. John Hunter died of a heart attack brought on by hospital administrators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-560
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Bone remodeling
  • Experimental surgery
  • History of orthopaedics
  • Regeneratie medicine
  • Translational research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'John Hunter and the origins of modern orthopaedic research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this