In memoriam: Robert M. Campbell Jr., M.D.

Robert M. Campbell Jr., M.D., shown in a 1995 file photo. (Courtesy, University Archives)

Robert M. Campbell Jr., M.D., a former UT Health San Antonio faculty member known for inventing the Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR), died July 29 in Pennsylvania. He was 67.

The Titanium Rib, invented in 1987 by Dr. Campbell, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 after a 14-year national clinical trial. It has enabled happy and productive lives for thousands of children all over the world with chest anomalies (Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome), as well as severe scoliosis and other debilitating conditions.

Dr. Campbell and Melvin Smith, M.D., a pediatric general surgeon, implanted the first titanium rib into a Texas child on April 19, 1989.

Dr. Campbell joined the faculty of the Health Science Center in 1992, where he held the President’s Council Chair in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery. He left in 2009 to work at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Campbell was a graduate of Father Ryan High School, Johns Hopkins University, and the Georgetown University School of Medicine.  He completed an orthopedic residency at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, Aurora, Colorado, and did his pediatric orthopedic fellowship at the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware.

Funeral services were held Aug. 6 in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.


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