John Rhea Barton (1794 – 1871) was an American Orthopedic Surgeon.
Eponymously associated with Barton fracture. Considered a pioneer of modern osteotomies. Recorded to have performed an intertrochanteric osteotomy, without anaesthesia, in only seven minutes.
Talented ambidextrous surgeon. Performed first hip arthroplasty in 1826 – Pennsylania Hospital, Philadelphia. His widow endowed the first surgical chair in the United States, the John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
- Born April 1794, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- 1813 – Appointed as an apprentice to Philip Syng Physick, known as ‘The Father of American Surgery’
- 1818 – Graduated from medical training at Pennsylvania Hospital
- 1820 – Surgeon at Philadelphia Almshouse
- 1823 – Surgeon at Pennsylvania Hospital
- 1838 – First described the Barton fracture
- Died January 1 1871, Philadelphia
Key Medical Attributions
- Barton is best appreciated as the pioneer of corrective osteotomy for joint ankylosis
- 1824 – First account published in America of an operation for imperforate anus
- 1826 – Performed first subtrochanteric osteotomy on an ankylosed hip
- 1827 – Performed a femoral osteotomy between the greater and lesser trochanters to secure motion in an ankylosed hip. This was hailed the first successful arthroplasty.
- 1834 – Wired a fractured patella in the same year as Lister
- 1839 – First account published in America regarding the use of a seton to ‘cure’ a recto-vaginal fistula.
- Barton fracture (1838)
- Barton Bandage – a figure-eight bandage to support an injured jaw
- Barton bran dressing – applied to compound fractures to reduce serous extravasation
- John Rhea Barton Professorship of Surgery
- In the original description, Barton discussed the posterior marginal fracture only.
- Barton was criticized by Joseph François Malgaigne (1806-1865) in 1859, and later Lewis Atterbury Stimson (1844-1917) in 1883, for not using autopsy specimens. They hypothesised that Barton had most likely observed Colles-type fractures and paid tribute to Lenoir, a member of Dupuytren’s study group, who demonstrated this fracture type during autopsy.
- Barton, JR. Operation performed and recommended for the cure of imperforate anus: Two cases detailed, illustrative of the method and success of it. Medical Recorder 1824;7;356-361
- Barton, JR. On the treatment of anchylosis by the formation of artificial joints. The North American Medical and Surgical Journal. 1827;3:279-292 [Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2007 Mar;456:9-14 PMID 17496747]
- Barton, JR. A new treatment in a case of anchylosis. The American journal of the medical sciences. 1837;21:332-340.
- Barton, JR. Views and treatment of an important injury of the wrist. Medical Examiner. 1838;1:365–368. [Barton fracture]
- Barton, JR. A recto-vaginal fistula – cured. The American journal of the medical sciences. 1839;26:305-306.
- Hayes Agnew D. Biographical sketch of Dr John Rhea Barton Delivered at the Academy of Music at the annual commencement of the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, 1878
- Jupiter JB, Fernandez DL. Comparative classification for fractures of the distal end of the radius. J Hand Surg Am. 1997 Jul;22(4):563-71. [PMID 9260608]
- Fernandez DL, Jupiter JB. The Fracture of the Distal End of the Radius: An Historical Perspective. In: Fractures of the Distal Radius: A Practical Approach to Management. Springer. 2002:1-21
- Di Matteo B. John Rhea Barton: the birth of osteotomy. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2013 Sep;21(9):1957-62. doi: 10.1007/s00167-013-2387-1. Epub 2013 Jan 19. [PMID 23334626]
- Hernigou P. Earliest times before hip arthroplasty: from John Rhea Barton to Themistocles Glück. Int Orthop. 2013 Nov; 37(11): 2313–2318.. [PMC 3824904]
- Malgaigne J. A Treatise on Fractures. [Translated by John Packard] Philadelphia: Lippincott. 1859:53
- Stimson LA. A Treatise on Fractures. Philadelphia: H.C. Lea. 1883:453
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