Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Our History

Heads of Department
A/Prof Wilson Wang 2015 - present
Prof Wong Hee Kit 2004 - 2015
Prof K Satkunanantham 2001 - 2004
Prof Lee Eng Hin 1998 - 2001
Prof Kamal Bose 1980 - 1998
Prof B Chacha 1971 - 1980
Prof VK Pillay 1967 - 1971
Prof DR Gunn 1961 - 1967
Prof AG Karlen 1955 - 1961
Prof JAP Cameron 1952 - 1955

Since its inception in 1952, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has played a crucial role in education, research and clinical service. It has a comprehensive undergraduate teaching program that spans all 5 years of the medical undergraduate curriculum. It provides tertiary clinical care in orthopaedic surgery at the National University Hospital, as is recognized as an international centre for postgraduate education and training.

Over the years, the Department has also built a reputation for quality research in orthopaedic surgery, especially in the areas of tissue engineering, osteoporosis and fractures, and orthopaedic bioengineering.

Our History

The University Department of Orthopaedic Surgery was set up on 1 April 1952 in the Singapore General Hospital with Professor J A P Cameron as Head of Department. The Orthopaedic and Traumatic Surgery service established was one of the earliest in this region. At that time it served a population of nearly one million people including some patients from the surrounding countries. Undergraduate teaching started at the same time, with a comprehensive, broad based, clinically oriented programme emphasising practical and basic common problems in Orthopaedic and traumatic surgery.

In 1955, Professor A G Karlen took over as Head of Department and initiated the Department's Slide Library which has become today, one of the largest in the world. In January 1961, Professor D R Gunn assumed the Headship and the first research laboratory built by the University for the Department was completed on 17 August 1964. Professor V K Pillay became Head of Department on 15 August 1967. A postgraduate teaching programme was organised which included talks, seminars, symposia and clinical case conferences, and trainee appointments in Orthopaedics were created.

In December 1971, Professor B Chacha became Head of Department. From October 1975, the field of Microvascular Surgery was vigourously developed and Specialist clinics in Orthopaedic subspecialties were organised. The department became closely associated with the training of Orthopaedic surgeons from countries under the Colombo Plan, and this association developed to an international level when the World Orthopaedic Concern was formed in Singapore.

On 1 August 1980, Professor K. Bose assumed the Headship. After more than 30 years in the old Norris Block, the University Department moved into the new Singapore General Hospital in 1982. In that year, the Department acquired the Harrower Hall for the development of research facilities, including the Experimental Surgery Laboratory with histology and X-ray facilities, and an animal holding area. In the following year, the Gait Analysis and Biomechanics Laboratories were established. On 24 June 1985 the University Department moved into the newly built National University Hospital, thus beginning a new phase in the department's development.

In 2012, the department celebrated it's 60th Anniversary of Orthopaedic Surgery in Singapore.