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SICOT e-Newsletter

 Issue No. 24 - September 2010

In Memoriam - Dietrich Tönnis

Prof Dr Dietrich Tönnis, the Doyen of the German Paediatric Orthopaedics, has passed away at the age of 83 in Dortmund, Germany, on Saturday, 21 August 2010.

Prof Dr Dietrich Tönnis received worldwide recognition for his advancement in the treatment of dysplasia of the hip. He was honorary member of the German Society for Orthopaedics and Orthopaedic Surgery (DGOOC – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Orthopädie und Orthopädische Chirurgie) and many other national orthopaedic societies. He was also co-founder of the German Association for Paediatric Orthopaedics (VKO – Vereinigung für Kinderorthopädie) and the European Paediatric Orthopaedic Society (EPOS).

Dietrich Tönnis was born in Würzburg, Germany, on 10 August 1927. He studied medicine in Münster, Freiburg, Cologne and Munich where he graduated in 1953. He further specialised in orthopaedics during a one-year fellowship in North America and was trained at different German hospitals. In 1970 he was appointed Professor and Head of the Orthopaedic Department at the Klinikum Dortmund and established a nationally and internationally recognised orthopaedic surgery with particular focus on paediatric orthopaedics, especially on the congenital dysplasia of the hip. He demonstrated with clinical multicentre studies the harmful influence of extreme positions on the blood supply of the femoral head during a conservative treatment of the DDH, improved the Dega Osteotomy and developed his own so-called Triple Osteotomy for the adult dysplastic hip.

Dietrich Tönnis published a large number of scientific articles on the treatment of this most frequent congenital disorder of the skeleton. His main scientific work, the book entitled "Congenital Dysplasia and Dislocation of the Hip", has been recognised all over the world and translated into several languages. His important and groundbreaking work can be followed on the website:

With the death of Prof Dietrich Tönnis, we lose a gifted teacher, an extraordinary scientist, and a great man. He is survived by his wife Magret, their children and grandchildren.

Jochen Eulert
SICOT Secretary General