ArthroscopyThe Japanese orthopedic surgeon Dr. Masaki Watanabe arguably accomplished for orthopedic surgery what Dr. Tom Fogarty did for cardiovascular procedures: popularizing minimally invasive surgical techniques that changed the way healthcare is delivered.
In 1962, Watanabe performed the first arthroscopic meniscectomy, using arthroscopic instruments that he developed, Dr. Marlene DeMaio wrote in a 2013 article in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. DeMaio wrote: “The patient was a 17-year-old boy who twisted his knee playing basketball. Watanabe débrided the flap tear of the medial meniscus. The patient went home the same day. In six weeks, he was back playing basketball.”
Canadian orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert W. Jackson met Watanabe while visiting Japan with the Canadian Olympic team for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo; Jackson ended up popularizing arthroscopy in North America, according to his 2010 obituary in Healio’s Orthopedics Today.