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Robert Danis

By A. Danis

The work of Robert Danis on rigid internal fixation and early functional rehabilitation served as a stimulus to the founding of AO in 1958.

A graduate of the Free University of Brussels in 1904, Robert Danis enjoyed a long and brilliant career. Interested in thoracic surgery, he conceived and constructed a positive pressure anaesthetic apparatus that prevented lung collapse with open thoracotomy (1909), followed in 1912 with a more simplified second model. He then became interested in the surgery of the blood vessels. He experimented with vascular anastomoses and investigated the uses of blood clotting after anastomosis. He invented an automatic citration syringe for direct transfusion from donor to recipient, as well as an instrument for porto-caval anastomosis without interruption of the circulation. His works provide the material for his thesis on "Vascular Anastomosis and Ligatures" (1912).

He then undertook work on regional anesthesia, particularly of the trunk and the sacral roots, for which he was awarded the Seutin prize in 1914.

Attached to the Hospice de Bruxelles during the period 1913 to 1920, he became familiar with the surgery of hernias, amputation, of the breast and thyroidectomy, performed under local or regional anesthesia on ambulant patients who, in the evening after surgery, were taken home by cab. Danis then followed them up on a domiciliary basis.

In 192 1 he occupied the Chair of Theory and Practice of Operative Surgery and was entrusted with the Directorship of the Gynaecological Clinic. Together with his mentor Antoine Depage he developed a radical technique for mastectomy for breast cancer, with a 51 % five year survival.

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