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Biographical entry Silva, Joseph Francis (1915 - 2004)

MRCS and FRCS 1951; LMS Ceylon 1941; MD 1971; FACS 1957; FICS 1957; FRACS 1970.

19 September 1915
Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
29 June 2004
Orthopaedic surgeon


Joseph Francis Silva was a distinguished orthopaedic surgeon who developed the Silva replacement elbow. He was born on 12 September 1915 in Moratuwa, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). He was educated at St Peter’s College, Colombo, and then at Ceylon Medical College in the same city. He qualified in 1941 with first class honours.

From 1941 to 1943 he was a house surgeon at the General Hospital, Colombo. He then entered the Ceylon Volunteer Naval Reserve as a Surgeon Lieutenant. In October 1946 he became an assistant in the orthopaedic department of the General Hospital.

In 1948 he went to England, where he spent three years at the Nuffield orthopaedic department in Oxford as a registrar.

On his return to Sri Lanka in 1951 he was appointed as a lecturer in the faculty of medicine at the University of Ceylon and as an orthopaedic surgeon in the General Hospital, Colombo. From 1954 he was in charge of the orthopaedic department at the General Hospital. In 1966 he moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he was professor and head of the department of orthorpaedic surgery.

He gave many lectures overseas, including at Northwestern University, the Mayo Clinic, the University of Tokyo and Oxford University.

He was a Hunterian Professor at the College in 1956 and a Commonwealth foundation adviser to the South Pacific Islands in 1974. He was a member of the editorial boards of several academic journals, including the Indian Journal of Orthopaedics and the Asian Journal of Rehabilitation. He was a corresponding editor of Clinical Orthopaedics.

He died on 29 June 2004.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England