“What cannot be cured with medicaments is cured by the knife, what the knife cannot cure is cured by the searing iron, and whatever this cannot cure must be considered incurable.” - Hippocrates
The victory over pain provided by anesthesia is among the greatest advances in the history of medicine.
Theories regarding antisepsis evolved with slow acceptance but in time proved a basic tenant of safe surgical practice.
Although general operating sets were offered by most makers they more frequently were custom made to reflect the surgeon’s specific interests and talents.
Marked hospital sets and those with certain provenance are quite rare and typically consist of instruments devoted to amputation and other procedures associated with injuries sustained during battle.
Suitable suture materials, needles, and appropriate forceps for precise placement were prerequisite to successful surgery.
Played an important role in identifying anatomy, foreign bodies and tumors, as well as preventing inadvertent injury to surrounding structures.
Ample opportunity was had to employ such instruments in an effort to avoid exploratory surgery.
Hemostatic forceps and were essential to controlling hemorrhage from divided vessels during an operation, pending closure with an appropriate ligature or by torsion.
Head trauma resulting in development of subdural hematoma was addressed by trepanation from early medical times.
In time surgeons developed successful and innovative techniques for conserving limbs that were formerly addressed with an amputation knife.
Aside from cataract surgery, little could be done to treat eye disorders beyond crude palliative treatments until the advent of the ophthalmoscope mid-19th century and until the topical aesthetic properties of cocaine were recognized in the late 19th century.