Interview with Yoshinobu Watanabe - OTCF President

Yoshinobu Watanabe is the director of the trauma and reconstruction center at the Teikyo University Hospital in Japan as well as a professor at the department of orthopedic surgery at the Teikyo University School of Medicine. But he is also the current president of the OTC Foundation. We talked to him about his involvement with the OTCF, the benefits of an organization like this, his goals during his presidential year and his prediction for the orthopedic surgery’s future. He is certain that there are going to be quite severe changes, not only due to advances in the orthopedic field but also in others like cancer treatment. This will then influence the number of orthopedic patients.

What is your personal motivation to get involved with the OTC Foundation?

Yoshinobu Watanabe: By getting involved with OTC, I have a chance to be acquainted with many respectable friends from all over the world and I’m learning lot from them. I think that is my primary motivation for participating in OTC.


How can you benefit from your commitment or activities at the OTC Foundation for your daily work?

Friedrich Nietzsche stated: «There are no facts, only interpretations.» Surgical treatment and trauma care options may differ depending on country, region or race. To provide better care to the patients, it is meaningful to discuss common problems in trauma care from different perspectives. In the OTC foundation, we can discuss those issues from broader perspectives and back to the local chapter of OTC, we can spread the new knowledges or concepts and educate our members.


You are currently holding the presidency of the OTC Foundation. What are your goals for your presidential year?

I would like to propose the problem of pathological fractures due to bone metastasis as a new topic in the future.
The advent of an aging society is presenting another problem. Due to recent progress in cancer treatment we are now learning to coexist with cancer. However, pathologic fractures due to bone metastasis can prevent patients to enjoy the rest of their lives. Prevention and treatment for these pathological fractures is therefore an urgent issue.


Where do you see the most important added value of a global association of medical specialists as formed by the OTC Foundation?

I think that it is worthwhile for many members of OTC to receive education from excellent experts and specialists from every field. Ideally, it would be good if a member belonging to OTC could seek the advice from the expert or specialist regarding treatment or nursing care from anywhere in the world. We need to construct a system which can obtain several options as responses. In the near future, we would like to achieve these by using the Web.


In the coming years, where do you expect the biggest advances in osteosynthesis and trauma care in terms of surgery techniques, aids and post-operative care?

I believe that the development of safe and more reliable surgical techniques will continue to evolve as usual. This includes progressive fixation devices for severe comminuted fractures, enhancement of fracture healing technology, peri-operative pain management, advanced rehabilitation method, and so on.
We need to fix fractures in more severe osteoporotic patients from now on. In addition to drug therapy to improve bone strength and quality, we will need to produce mechanically better plate and intramedullary nail or devices which we do not know yet. I believe that total care by multi-occupational collaboration will be more important in these patient groups.
In addition, it is expected that the number of patients with pathologic fractures will increase dramatically in the future due to progress of cancer treatment. Damage to the musculoskeletal system as a result of bone metastasis can deprive the patient of the value of life, so that the orthopedic surgeon will play an important role in that treatment.