Gerhard Küntscher

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Gerhard Küntscher (6 December 1900 – 17 December 1972(1972-12-17) (aged 72)) was a German surgeon who inaugurated the intramedullary nailing of long bone fractures.


Küntscher was born in Zwickau, Germany.

Küntscher invented what is known as the Küntscher nail, an internal fixation device used to maintain the position of the fracture fragments during healing. The nail is rigid and has a cloverleaf shape in cross-section.

Küntscher first performed the process using the nail in November 1939 at the University Department of Surgery in Kiel. The German military initially disapproved Kuntscher’s IM nailing technique but introduced it in 1942.

While in the Finnish Lapland from 1942 to 1944, Küntscher taught Finnish surgeons to do intramedullary nailings, which earned him recognition and respect in the orthopedic community. The war also prevented the knowledge of Kuntscher’s use of the IM nail to exit Germany. The German military had the upper hand in treating soldiers with the IM nail and having them return to fighting status in just a few weeks. Worldwide knowledge was not established until the prisoners of war (POW's) returned to their home countries carrying Kuntscher’s legacy in the form of steel nails in their legs.

Of Küntscher's invention, A. W. Fischer said in 1944: "This practical treatment of fractures using a nail, the Küntscher procedure, is, in my eyes, a great revolution that will conquer the world."[citation needed]

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