site.btaUPDATED Ivan Matev - Only Bulgarian Orthopaedic Surgeon, Whose Name is Quoted in Textbooks on Hand Surgery for His Innovative Surgical Techniques

Ivan Matev - Only Bulgarian Orthopaedic Surgeon, Whose Name is Quoted in Textbooks on Hand Surgery for His Innovative Surgical Techniques
Ivan Matev - Only Bulgarian Orthopaedic Surgeon, Whose Name is Quoted in Textbooks on Hand Surgery for His Innovative Surgical Techniques
Golden Book of the Bulgarian Patent Office

Prof. Ivan Matev is the only Bulgarian orthopaedic surgeon whose name is always quoted in hand surgery textbooks for his innovative surgical techniques. Matev is the author of three inventions and fifteen rationalizations. He was listed in the Golden Book of the Bulgarian Patent Office on June 4, 1998.

Matev is the creator of several original healing surgical methodologies and techniques, which began to be applied in the 1960s.

He elevated Bulgarian hand surgery to the world class level by creating a school for the diagnosis and treatment of hand injuries and diseases in Bulgaria, as well as a new section in hand reconstructive surgery - "Reconstruction by distraction", known as the "Matev Method".


Prof. Matev created a new surgical technique for the treatment of the spastic hand, as well as a new surgical methodology for the restoration of the dorsal aponeurosis of the fingers, which received his name in the literature. In addition, he discovered a new symptom for the diagnosis of entrapment of the median nerve in the elbow joint after luxation of the joint, called the symptom of Matev.

Among the original methods he created are the distraction method for restoring an amputated thumb, the spastic "thumb in palm" technique, and the technique for restoring the "finger grip" in permanent low ulnar nerve palsy, the use of a long tendon graft in the restoration of finger flexors, the technique for the restoration of traumatic injuries of the dorsal extension of the hand and the technique for the restoration of the opposition of the thumb in case of permanent median nerve injuries in collaboration with prof. Elena Paneva.

Prof. Matev has established himself as a teacher of a whole generation of Bulgarian hand and upper limb surgeons. His works have been cited in foreign journals, and in some of them his name as the author of a method is placed in the title of the publication. Matev is the author and co-author of more than 200 articles, more than 20 monographs or textbooks. He was a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology and the Journal of Acta Chirurgiae Plasticae. He is the author of the first Bulgarian medical book Reconstructive Surgery of the Thumb printed in Great Britain - in 1983. Prof. Matev is one of the four European specialists invited as authors of a textbook on plastic surgery for English speakers, published in 1990 in eight volumes.

Education and occupation

Ivan Matev was born on May 26, 1925 in Burgas, on the Black Sea coast. After completing his secondary education, he was undecided in his choice between medicine and law. He was guided towards medicine by his father, who told him that it was not influenced by politics.

In 1952, Matev graduated from the Military Medical Institute in Sofia (now Military Medical Academy). In 1977 he became a Doctor of Medical Science and in 1983 - a professor.

In 1953, Matev began working at the Institute of Reconstructive Surgery and Prosthetics. Three people had the greatest influence on his professional development - prof. Boycho Boychev, prof. Janaki Holevich and prof. Anton Chervenakov.

Public life

In 1976, Matev founded the Bulgarian Society for Surgery of the Hand, of which he is also chairman. 

He served two terms from 1990 to 1998 as President of the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria (USB) and its Honorary President since 1998. 

For less than a year, from July 17, 2000 to April 19, 2001, prof. Ivan Matev was an MP in the 38th National Assembly. On this occasion he has said: "The Parliament was going to kill the doctor in me".

International recognition

Prof. Matev was an honorary member of the Hand Surgery Societies of the USA, Australia, South Africa and Italy, of the Hungarian Society of Traumatology. He was a member of the Hand Surgery Associations of Great Britain, Germany and France. Matev was a member of the Executive Council of the International Federation of Hand Surgery and chairman of two of its scientific committees. He has been a guest lecturer in courses on hand problems at universities and hospitals in Italy, Spain, UK, Hungary, Israel, Australia, Japan, USA, the Netherlands and Greece.

The professor has received a number of Bulgarian and international awards for his contribution to the field of medicine. In 1972 he was awarded the Grand Prize of the Union of Scientific Workers in Bulgaria for excellence in medicine published abroad, and in 1982 he received the Johns Hopkins University Award in the USA for contributions to world hand surgery. In 1998, at the International Congress of Hand Surgery in Vancouver, Canada, he was awarded the honorary title of Pioneer of Hand Surgery.

On July 4, 2000 Prof. Ivan Matev was awarded the Order of Stara Planina, First Class, for his extraordinary services to Bulgaria in the field of medicine and on the occasion of his 75th anniversary.

Prof. Matev died on May 4, 2012 at the age of 86. 

The article was written within the framework of the partnership initiative between BTA and the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO), which envisages the presentation of Bulgarians listed in the Golden Book of BPO and the activities of the BPO in a joint weekly column entitled "Created in Bulgaria".




By 11:14 on 07.12.2023 Today`s news

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