The chair for orthopedics at the University of Würzburg is traditionally in personal union with the Head of the Orthopaedic Hospital König-Ludwig-Haus, a high level community hospital run by the district of Lower Franconia. Orthopedics has a tradition at the Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg, which has been instituted mainly by the Heine Brothers. The Heine family has fundamentally influenced developments in orthopedics and this is why Würzburg is considered the cradle of orthopedics, e. g. also of osteology. The two most famous representatives are briefly presented here.
Johann Georg Heine is considered the founder of orthopedics in Germany. He was on 3rd of April 1771 in Lauterbach in the Black Forest. He learned the craft of a cutler in Überlingen, he went on peregrination until May 1798 when he became an instrument maker for the Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg. He established a workshop to develop and manufacture medical devices and created a "Systematic directory of surgical instruments, bandages and equipment" (Würzburg 1807). He then devoted himself to the development of the new profession of orthopedics and in 1816 he opened the first orthopedic institute on German soil in the former monastery of St. Stephen, which later became known as the “Karolinen-Institut”, named after the Bavarian Queen Caroline (Fig. 1).
His nephew, Bernhard Heine was born on 20th of August 1800 in Schramberg. Bernhard Heine's parents sent their son to Johann Georg Heine in Würzburg already at the age of ten years, where he was trained as an orthopedic technician. Based on the intercession of his uncle Bernhard Heine had access to anatomical lectures and practical demonstrations in surgery. At the age of 20, he travelled around the world to deepen his medical knowledge. In 1822 he returned to the Karolinum. When his uncle Johann Georg Heine moved to the Netherlands he took over the management of the Karolinen-Institut. His most significant development was the osteotome, which he presented at the Academy of Sciences in Paris in 1834. He received numerous research awards and international recognition. He died in 1846 in Thun, and was buried in Wuerzburg.
The Karolinen-Institut was destroyed and not rebuilt and the “König-Ludwig-Haus” was founded instead in 1916. Since then orthopedic patient care has been provided by the Chair for Orthopedics and head physician and their teams in this hospital. The founder of the König-Ludwig-Haus was Prof. Jacob Riedinger. During the air raid on Wurzburg in the second world war, on 16th of March 1945, the König-Ludwig-Haus was almost completely destroyed. Temporarily the clinic resided in the monastery of St. Ludwig in Wipfeld. Kaspar NIederegger finally rebuilt the König-Ludwig-Haus from 1946 to 1948.
From 1986 to 2009 Prof. Jochen Eulert held the chair as a professor of orthopedics and as the chief physician of the clinic. During the early 90s the idea came up to affiliate a research unit to the Orthopedic Department. As a first step a position was rededicated to a basic science scientist to establish a scientific laboratory. This was initiated by Prof. Norbert Schütze who is now the technical director of research laboratories in the Orthopedic Center for Musculoskeletal Research.
The latter Institution was really fostered when Prof. Franz Jakob was appointed as a Professor of Experimental and Clinical Osteology and Head of Research in 2001. At the same time a Research Unit was funded by the German Research Society DFG entitled "Osteogenic Stem Cell Differentiation and treatment of bone loss". This research group was the nucleus to develop the Orthopedic Center for Musculoskeletal Research and the latter again was an important prerequisite for the establishment of the big interdisciplinary Musculoskeletal Center Würzburg MCW. The MCW represents an important milestone in the visibility of musculoskeletal research at the Faculty of Würzburg and it could also achieve remarkable national and international reputation. Prof. Jochen Eulert retired in 2008 and Prof. Maximilian Rudert was appointed the new chair for Orthopedics at the University of Würzburg. Prof. Rudert besides his broad experience in orthopedic surgery in general is specialized in orthopedic tumor surgery and stem cell based therapies and the expansion of these segments of orthopedic care is program for the future.