Richard Volkmann, Director of the University Surgical Clinic in Halle, Chairman of the German Society of Surgeons

  • Authors: Kalinina K.M.1, Ostroushko A.P.2, Andreev A.A3
  • Affiliations:
    1. Voronezh N.N. Burdenko State Medical University
    2. N. N. Burdenko Voronezh State Medical University
    3. Воронежский государственный медицинский университет им. Н.Н.Бурденко
  • Issue: Vol 10, No 1 (2021): Материалы XIV Международного хирургического форума «ИННОВАЦИОННЫЕ ТЕХНОЛОГИИ В ХИРУРГИИ»
  • Pages: 16-17
  • Section: Хирургические дисциплины
  • URL:

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Richard Folkman was born in 1830 in Leipzig in family of the privatdozent of the local university. Richard Folkman studied medicine at Gallet and Gissen's universities, in 1854 graduated from medical faculty of the Berlin university. In 1854 Folkman defended the dissertation then he works as the assistant, the privatdozent, extraordinary professor in surgical clinic of professor Blazius at Halle University. He participates in the German military campaigns 1865-1866 and 1870-1871 of. During the French-German war works as the chief physician in the 4th army body, is later in the Maas and Southern army. In 1866 receives the invitation to management of surgery of Halle University of department. From 1867 to 1885 Folkman ordinary professor of surgery and the director of university surgical clinic in Halle. From 70th years he begins to publish a series of monographs devoted to internal diseases, surgery and gynecology "A collection of clinical reports", since 1880 becomes the coeditor of the surgical edition "Zentralblatt fur Chirurgie". One of the main merits of Richard Folkman is broad promoting of a method of antiseptics. Folkman made extremely important contribution to increase in efficiency of treatment of the patients by use of an occlusive bandage in the conditions of wartime developed by it wire T-shaped immobilized tires, ways of treatment of bone changes by an extension method. It described several forms of bone tuberculosis. In 1872 Richard Folkman with colleagues created the German society of surgeons which chairman he was since 1885. In 1885 Folkman was awarded a noble rank. The name of Folkman is born by the contracture described by it, a number of surgeries, devices and tools. In 1889 Richard Folkman died.

Full Text

Richard Volkmann was born in Leipzig on August 7, 1830. His father was a privat-docent at the university, who later became director of the Physiological Institute in Halle. Richard's mother owned a music publishing house, among her friends were famous musicians. The family atmosphere in childhood R. Volkmann was permeated with medicine and art, which undoubtedly influenced his choice of life path. R. Volkmann studied medicine at the educational institutions of Halle, Giessen and Berlin, in 1854 he graduated from the medical faculty of the University of Berlin. The teachers of the genius surgeon are recognized German researchers - L. Traube, I.L. Schonlein, B. Langenbeck and others. Having defended his thesis, R. Volkmann works as an assistant, since 1857 - assistant professor, since 1863 - extraordinary professor at the surgical clinic of Professor Blasius. But due to disagreements with the management, he was forced to leave his post and take up private practice. In 1865-1866 and 1870-1871. R. Volkman takes part in military campaigns. During the Franco-German war, R. Volkmann worked as the chief physician of the fourth army corps, then in the Meuse and Southern armies. In 1866, after the departure of Professor Blasius Volkmann, he was invited to head the Department of Surgery at the University of Halle. From 1867 to 1885 R. Volkmann was an ordinary professor of surgery and director of the university surgical clinic in Halle. In the 1870s, he began to publish the well-known series of monographs covering the treatment of internal diseases, issues of surgery and gynecology "Sammlung klinischer Vortrage", since 1880 co-editor of the scientific journal for surgeons "Zentralblatt fur Chirurgie". extensively. Among the merits of the brilliant surgeon, his recommendations on the use of the antiseptic method should be especially noted. This, as well as the use of an occlusive dressing, developed by him wire T-shaped immobilization splints, methods of treating bone fractures by traction, significantly increased the effectiveness of treatment of patients. In addition, R. Volkmann identified and described several previously unknown forms of bone tuberculosis. In Germany, R. Volkmann was known not only as a brilliant surgeon-professor. From under his pen came out not only medical treatises, but also poetry and literary works. R. Volkmann published them under the pseudonym Richard Linder. Volkmann's prose and poetry were of interest primarily to children and youth. It should also be said that the surgeon had an artistic talent, which he used both to depict the plots of fairy tales and to illustrate medical works. In 1872, R. Volkmann, together with his friends Gustav Simon and Bernhard Langenbeck, created the German Society of Surgeons. Initially, the chairman of the association of doctors and scientists was Bernhard Langenbeck, who was called "honorary chairman for life". After his death, the post of head of the society was transferred to Volkmann. In the same year Volkmann was awarded the title of nobility. Volkmann's name is associated with the names of the contractures described by him, a number of surgical operations and medical devices. On November 28, 1889, Richard Volkmann died.


About the authors

Kristina Mikhailovna Kalinina

Voronezh N.N. Burdenko State Medical University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0505-9242
SPIN-code: 8013-1927
Russian Federation, 394036, Воронежская область, город Воронеж, Студенческая улица, 10.

Anton Petrovich Ostroushko

N. N. Burdenko Voronezh State Medical University

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3656-5954
SPIN-code: 9811-2385

associate Professor of General surgery

Russian Federation, Voronezh, Russia

Alexander A Andreev

Воронежский государственный медицинский университет им. Н.Н.Бурденко

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5242-6105
SPIN-code: 1394-5147

д.м.н., профессор кафедры общей хирургии

Russian Federation, г. Воронеж, ул. Студенческая, 10


  1. Braun H. Zur Erinnerung an den 100. Geburtstag (17. August 1830) Richard v. Volkmann’s, Zbl. Chir., S. 2033, 1930;
  2. Schrober K. L. Richard von Volkmann zum 150. Geburtstag am 17.8.1980, ibid., S. 1635, 1980.
  3. Фолькман, Рихард // Энциклопедический словарь Брокгауза и Ефрона : в 86 т. (82 т. и 4 доп.). — СПб., 1890—1907.

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