J Wrist Surg 2022; 11(02): 096-119
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1740304
Special Review: History of Wrist Arthroscopy

History of Wrist Arthroscopy

Gregory I. Bain
1   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Flinders University and Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia
2   Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Terry L. Whipple
3   Hillelson-Whipple Clinic, Richmond, Virginia
4   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
5   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Gary G. Poehling
6   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Wake Forest, Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Christophe Mathoulin
7   Institut de la Main, InternationalWrist Center, Clinique Bizet, Paris, France
Pak-Cheong Ho
8   Department of Orthopaedic & Traumatology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
› Author Affiliations


Wrist arthroscopy has a rich history, drawing on contributions from around the world. Its foundation was laid in Japan with Kenji Takagi and Masaki Watanabe, who developed the arthroscope and the techniques for arthroscopy. Across several decades they advanced the optic and lighting technology, allowing the miniaturization which made wrist arthroscopy technologically feasible. A safe and standardized technique for wrist arthroscopy was evolved by Terry Whipple, Gary Poehling, and James Roth in the 1980s, and they shared this with their fellow surgeons through courses and publications. The techniques then spread across the world, leading to widespread uptake and exploration of new therapeutic possibilities. The worldwide spread of wrist arthroscopy was accelerated by the European Wrist Arthroscopy Society (EWAS), founded in 2005 by Christophe Mathoulin. The Asia Pacific Wrist Association (APWA), founded by PC Ho in 2015, also extended the progression of wrist arthroscopy. This article brings together this history and tells the global story of its development through the recollections of those involved. The manuscript includes some amazing videos of the early historical arthroscopy. There are also videos of Gary and Terry describing some of their special memories of the early politics, developments, and evolution of wrist arthroscopy.

Publication History

Received: 07 June 2021

Accepted: 01 September 2021

Article published online:
25 April 2022

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