ISSN 1681-150X printed version
ISSN 2309-8309 online version



Scope and Policy

The Journal is peer reviewed and accredited and publishes research and updates that are of interest to registrars in training and practicing orthopaedic surgeons in South Africa, Africa and internationally.

The Journal invites articles on orthopaedic surgery of a general nature and articles specifically related to pathology in Africa, covering topics such as tuberculosis and HIV infection.

The journal has been accreditated by the Department of Education of the Republic of South Africa.

The SAOJ is distributed free of charge to 1300 orthopaedic surgeons and registrars in South Africa as well as 15 other countries in Africa.

Orthopaedic surgeons from Africa are encouraged to publish in the Journal.

The Journal includes clinical articles, case reports, literature reviews, expert opinions, as well as articles submitted in order to obtain the MMed degree at the University of Pretoria.

Submitted articles need to be:

  • Scientifically sound in respect of methodology, completeness of data and validity of conclusions;
  • Original and providing new information perspectives;
  • Relevant to orthopaedic practice or contributing to knowledge, particularly in a South African and / or developing world context;
  • Well presented in terms of arrangement, literary style and the quality of illustrations.

Case reports need to be interesting, educational, instructional and/or cautionary.

The peer review policy is that every article, after being read by the Editor, is peer reviewed by two orthopaedic surgeons who are knowledgeable in that specific field. Comments are then forwarded to the author and returned to the Editor. Every peer reviewer is given our 10 point plan as to how to review an article. Sometimes reviewers will recommend a rewrite of the article while others would give a more concise opinion. When indicated the opinion of a third expert in the field is obtained. Peer reviewers use the following criteria for the evaluation of articles:

  • Is the language acceptable?
  • Is the style of the article acceptable?
  • Any suspicion of plagiarism (sole work of the author)?
  • Are the contents correct?
  • Do the facts come across in such a way that the reader will get the message?
  • Does the article really add to the present knowledge on the subject?
  • Do the references reflect the Vancouver system?
  • Is the number of references acceptable?
  • Are the conclusions supported by the text?
  • At which level does this article focus?

    a. A subspecialty of orthopaedic surgery.
    b. General orthopaedic surgery.

If there is any doubt as to the correctness of the language, the article is edited by a linguist.


Form and preparation of manuscripts

The Journal includes clinical articles, case reports, literature reviews and expert opinions.

The following guidelines need to be adhered to:

  1. Two cover sheets are to be submitted with each manuscript. The first sheet must contain the title of the manuscript, the names of all authors in the correct sequence, their academic status and affiliations.

    The author responsible for receiving reprint requests or other correspondence must furnish name, address, phone, fax and e–mail address. The second sheet must contain only the title of the manuscript. The authors' names and institution at which the study was done must not be named in the text.

    1. Articles should be the original, unpublished work of the stated author. All materials submitted for publication are assumed to be submitted exclusively for publication in this journal.

    2. Written permission from the author or copyright holder must be submitted with previously published figures, tables or articles.
    1. A structured Abstract, consisting of four paragraphs with the headings: Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions is advocated. It should be a summary of the article without references.

      The abstract should consist of a one paragraph statement less than 200 words (15–18 lines) in length, stating the main conclusions and clinical relevance of the article.

    2. The body of the manuscript should have an Introduction which should state the problem that lead to the study and the specific purpose of the study and should state previous work on the subject, if applicable.

    3. The Materials and Methods section should always include the indications for the operative procedure, when applicable, and the duration of follow–up.

    4. The Results section should provide a detailed report during a study. Results obtained after less than 2 years of follow up are rarely accepted.

    5. The Discussion should include a review of the literature with emphasis on previous findings that agree with those of the present study. The discussion should also state both the strengths and weaknesses of the study.

  2. All manuscripts dealing with the study of human subjects must include a statement that the subjects have given informed consent, and that an ethical committee or similar committee has approved the study.

  3. Authors are solely responsible for the factual accuracy of their work.

  4. Illustrations, tables and graphs should be submitted as separate documents and should be clearly identified.

  5. Legends for the illustrations should be typed in double spacing on a separate page from the text.

  6. Tables should carry Roman numerals, I, II etc., and illustration Arabic numbers 1, 2 etc.

  7. Accuracy of references is the author's responsibility and the author is to verify the references against the original documents.

  8. References should be numbered consecutively in the order that they are first mentioned in the text and listed at the end in numerical order of appearance. Identify references in the text by Arabic numerals in superscript after punctuation. References should not be a listing of a computerised literature search but should have been read by the authors and have pertinence to the manuscript.

  9. The titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus, obtainable through the website

  10. The following format should be used for references:


    KaplanFS,AugustCS,DalinkaMK.Bonedensitometryobservation of osteoporosis in response to bone marrow transplantation. Clin Orthop 1993;294:73–8.

    Chapter in a book

    Young W. Neurophysiology of spinal cord injury. In: Errico TJ, Bauer RD, Waugh T (eds). Spinal Trauma. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott; 1991: 377–94.

  11. Manuscripts in preparation, unpublisheddata (including articles submitted but not in the press) and personal communications may not be included in the reference listing. They may be listed in the text in parentheses only if absolutely necessary to the contents and meaning of the article.

  12. Manuscripts must be submitted in an electronic version (by e–mail or on a stiffy) in conjunction with the hard copy (paper version). The text must be in a major word processing format such as MS Word. Pages should be numbered consecutively in the following order wherever possible: Title page, abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, acknowledgements, tables and illustrations, references.

  13. The illustrations should not be imbedded in the text file, but should be provided as separate individual graphic files. If photographs are submitted, two sets of unmounted high quality black and white glossy prints should accompany the paper. Remove all markings, such as patient identification, from radiographs before photographing. All line or original drawings must be done by a professional medical illustrator.

  14. Abbreviations and acronyms should be defined on first use and kept to a minimum.

  15. Proofs forwarded to authors may be altered only for misprints of factual errors. Major alterations or new material cannot be inserted at this stage.

  16. Review of manuscripts is evaluated by two different orthopaedists.

  17. The contents of published articles do not constitute the official endorsement of the South African Orthopaedic Association. The same applies to opinions presented in articles or any editorial or other comments or advertisements. The appearance of advertisements in the journal is not a warranty, endorsement or approval of the products or their safety. The South African Orthopaedic Journal and the Publisher and the South African Orthopaedic Association disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas or products referred to in the articles or advertisements.

  18. While all advertising appears to conform to ethical medical standards, acceptance does not imply endorsement by the South African Orthopaedic Association.

  19. All correspondence must be submitted directly to the Editor–in–Chief:
    Prof Prof Anton Schepers
    Tel: 011 726 4459, E–mail: or

  20. Any queries may be directed to the Managing Editor:
    Ms Pat Botes, Tel: (011)706–6934, Fax: (011) 706–6934, E–mail:
    P.O. Box 98068, Sloane Park, 2152

  21. Contributors are please to observe the following: No benefits of any form are to be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of any article. It is the policy of the Editorial Board that this principle should be adhered to. At the end of each article the author is to state which of the two possibilities applies: No benefits of any form have been received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article. OR The following benefits have been received have been received from a commercial party: (please stipulate).

  22. While every effort is made to ensure accurate reproduction, the authors, editor, editorial board, advisors, publishers and their employees or agents shall not be responsible, or in any way liable for errors, omissions or inaccuracies in the publication.


Manuscripts submission

Manuscripts must be submitted in an electronic version if possible in conjunction with the additional paper version, by e–mail or on a CD. The text should be a major word processing format such as MS Word. Pages should be numbered consecutively in the following order where–ever possible: Title page, abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, acknowledgements, tables and illustrations, references.

Electronic versions can be send to


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South African Orthopaedic Association (SAOA)
P.O. Box 12918, Brandhof, Bloemfontein, Free State, ZA, 9324,
Tel: +27 51 430 3280