Tell me and I forget;
Teach me and I remember;
Involve me and I learn.
– Benjamin Franklin –

One of the unquestionable opportunities which my year spent in the United States has given me, was the possibility of “practicing”.

In fact, cadaver practicals are a routine event in America, and however unfortunate or disturbing this activity is, we are actually talking about an important advantage.

Tools for the fellows

Each fellow has a lot of courses available to make some practice, and the same companies do provide the support and the materials needed. The aim is double: to give you the possibility to learn, but using their own products at the same time!

Actually it is a double advantage for the fellow or new-specialist, who is helped not only in common practice, but he is also prepared on how to use a certain product and being able to choose from different products, which one is the most adequate. The term “products” is really meant for everything: from particular suture threads, to plates, screws, blades, cages, biological membranes, prosthesis.

A good specialist, in fact, is not only a surgeon who is able to “move his hands”, but who is also able to use all the tools at his disposal with discernment, by differentiating a case from the other in order to achieve the best result from a specific procedure.

My journey between theory and practice

The course held in Baltimora at the beginning of the year by Dr. Mark Myerson himself, as well as the arthroscopic one patronized by Dr. Rebecca Cerrato, were very helpful to me.

The first one allowed me to analyze the osteotomies world. As one can imagine, the theoretical and the technical approach to a given problem are very different from each other. It’s one thing if we make a diagnosis by evaluating the patient clinically and by setting a conservative or surgical therapy. But it is completely different if we want to accomplish a specific procedure.

Neither of the two is more important than the other one. They are complementary and together they permit to obtain the solution of the problem.

Critical issues do not stop at diagnosis


It would be shallow to think that, once the diagnosis is made, the problem would be resolved. The same happens with considering the surgical approach as unique and fundamental, which would assimilate ourselves into blacksmiths, instead of medical orthopedics.

There are a lot of difficulties inside the surgical approach, starting from the correct positioning of the patient on the operating table. The courses, indeed, teach this to us: nothing must be underestimated, and the surgeon must have the possibility to work in perfect conditions, because nobody will care about or help him if he finds himself in trouble.

The arthroscopic course helped me to become familiar with the idea of not being able to look at what is being done directly, since we always have to look through a screen.

It wasn’t that easy for me to find my landmarks inside the tibial tarsic joint, or to coordinate the movements while intently looking at the screen, but, once you become confident with all the instrumentation, ending the surgical procedure has been fun and very gratifying!

Usually, the in-depth courses are divided into two parts, in order to make them more exhaustive: a theoretical and a practical part. However, the theory is often very engaging. In fact, we are talking about some clinical cases which are shown in front of the fellows audience, who must express their doubts, reasons and solutions. They truly are very useful moments and, to me, precious.

Theory and practice on Italian level

It is surely wrong and shallow to think that every single thing that occurs outside our country must always be the best. Nevertheless, I have to admit that there are some concepts we should strive to learn and modify: for instance, the teaching activity, which cannot always be limited to theory, but has to captivate, fascinate as well, and also, to be aimed at the practical purposes of life.