Posted on: August 26, 2022
On May 30, 2022, Charles A. Engh, Sr., of Alexandria, VA and most recently of Stuart, FL. passed away peacefully. Born September 13, 1938, in Alexandria, VA and preceded in death by his parents Otto and Sara Engh.
“Dr. Charles”, as he was fondly called by his patients, was an internationally renowned total hip arthroplasty surgeon and a pioneer in the development of the porous-coated cementless implant for hips; an innovation that has changed the nature of joint replacement surgery worldwide. He received his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College in North Carolina and attended medical school at the University of Virginia. He completed his orthopaedic residency at Johns Hopkins and a fellowship at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, DC.
He practiced at National Hospital for Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation in Arlington, Virginia from 1972 through 1993, which was started by his father, Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic founder, Otto Engh. From 1993 until his retirement in 2010 he practiced at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria Virginia.
Throughout his career he focused on patient care pathways to improve the quality and consistency of the hip replacement experience.
At the start of his practice, he was one of two surgeons in the Washington, DC area with an FDA license to use bone cement. Failures of cemented implants fueled his desire to find another method. In 1985 his work with cementless femoral fixation led to the first implant approved by the FDA for use without cement. He was an ardent advocate for biologic fixation even when most leading hip replacement centers in the United States were just using cement. He believed that cementless implants would provide long-term fixation and his autopsy studies proved that his theories were correct.
Charles established the Anderson Orthopaedic Research Institute (AORI) in 1972. It continues to provide ground-breaking research relating to total joint arthroplasty. Reviewing data collected on his patients enabled him to understand what contributed to the success of hip replacement. He was the first in the country to have data on the outcomes from cementless hip implants. Throughout his career the goal of his research was to develop a hip replacement that would serve patients for their entire lives. Along with his clinical and research work, he was instrumental in the development of the Anderson Clinic Post-Graduate Medical Education Foundation which has trained over 100 hip and knee arthroplasty fellows since 1983. He took great pride in mentoring fellows to support the next generation of orthopedists.
He was the winner of several prestigious awards including, The Hip Society’s John Charnley and Otto Aufranc awards, the AAHKS Lawrence D. Dorr award twice, and in 2013 – The Hip Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He published over 190 articles in orthopedic journals and 19 book chapters, as well as a book on joint replacement.
All who knew Charles will remember him for his love of sailing and spending time at his home on St. Leonard’s Creek in Lusby, Maryland. Charles was an avid sailor, a passion he developed as a boy sailing on a small pond at Effingham, his family’s farm in Virginia. He enjoyed spending time on the water, whether it be sailboat racing on the Chesapeake Bay or sailing in the Caribbean during the winter.
When not racing his sailboat or on the water Charles could be found at his home in Maryland. He had an eye for beauty and making his surroundings a place for all to enjoy. He had a passion for antiques, architectural and landscape design. He spent much of his free time at antique auctions or designing and planting at his Maryland home.
Charles is survived by his brother, Gerard A. Engh and sister, Sally E. Reger; former wife, Eleanor B. Engh; children: Charles A. Engh Jr. (Anna), Eleanor “Rusty” Golden (Kevin), Elizabeth E. Ware (Dudley); six grandchildren: Catherine and Charlie Engh, Emily Golden, Liza, Guil and Cate Ware; and Cassandra Robbins.