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Robert J. Duran, M.D.
1923 - 2011

Dr. Robert J. Duran was born June 1, 1923, in McAlester, Oklahoma. He graduated from McAlester High School and attended Westminster College before entering the United States Navy. Upon completion of his military service he attended the University of Oklahoma Medical School, graduated in 1947, and was then recalled into the service by the U.S. Air Force as a medical doctor. After his second tour of duty he did a surgical residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, followed by specialty training in hand surgery in New York and San Francisco.

In 1956 Dr. Duran established his surgical practice in Columbus, Ohio, with a focus almost exclusively on hand surgery. He was appointed to the faculty in the division of Plastic Surgery at The Ohio State University in 1956, and served as acting chair of the division on two different occasion, once from 1960-61, and again from 1964-65. He remained a contributor to the educational programs of the division for the remainder of his career until he retired from practice. In addition to his membership in the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Duran was a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the Columbus Rotary Club, and was also a long-time member of Trinity United Methodist Church.

Dr. Duran, along with his colleague Dr. Robert Houser, made a major contribution to hand surgery with his description of controlled passive motion after flexor tendon repair in 1975 (Duran, R.J. and Houser, R.G.: Controlled Passive Motion Following Flexor Tendon Repair in Zones 2 and 3. In A.A.O.S. Symposium on Flexor Tendon Surgery in the Hand. St. Louis: Mosby, 1975). His work, along with that of Dr. Harold Kleinert, revolutionized flexor tendon repair surgery, which until that time had been plagued by development of adhesions and inadequate results.

Dr. Duran set the standard for meticulous technique in hand surgery, and always emphasized the need for intensive post-operative care and critical long term follow-up. Although always very quiet and unassuming, he clearly was a “giant” of hand surgery.

Dr. Robert Duran died May 10, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joanne Kreisle Duran, 2 sons, 1 daughter, 6 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Robert Ruberg, M.D.

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