HomeSurgery ArticlesHistory of Modern Surgical Procedures

History of Modern Surgical Procedures

Surgery is a field defined by its ability to treat through physical intrusion. The harshness and dangers of opening a living person’s body are well known, but the advantages have slowly emerged. Surgical procedures refer to any invasive therapy carried out as in-patient surgery. In patients, surgery is a surgical operation or treatment conducted with an overnight stay in an in-patient hospital. Surgery involves physically altering a bodily structure to treat, diagnose, or prevent disease. It is a field of medicine that employs surgical manual and instrumental procedures on patients to examine or cure pathological conditions like diseases or injuries, to enhance physical function or appearance, or to mend unwelcome ruptured parts.

Surgery is still changing due to the enormous advancements made by science virtually every day. The surgical techniques performed decades ago frequently show little similarity to the surgeries we recognize today. Nevertheless, the knowledge gained through centuries of trial and error, study, and experimentation resulted in practices that are not only widespread today but also highly efficient and secure. As experts investigate newer superior surgical approaches, patients are expected to see better results, quicker recoveries, and less discomfort. The evolution of modern surgical procedures has truly benefited humanity in the present.

6500 BCE — The first known surgical procedure was done in Ensisheim, France.

A surgical trepanation, often known as producing a burr hole, involves drilling or scraping a hole into the human skull. The dura mater is purposefully penetrated through the head to manage health issues connected to intracranial disorders or to release pressurized blood accumulation following an accident. Any burr hole made via other bodily surfaces, such as nail beds, may be referred to as such. A trephine is used to remove a spherical piece of skull bone to release pressure under the surface. One of the practices used in alternative medicine was drilling holes in the patient’s neurocranium, intending to cure rather than kill. Trepanation was used for both medicinal and magical purposes, much like bloodletting.

Trepanation has been documented in prehistoric human bones dating from the Neolithic period forward. The ancient people saved the trepanned bone, which may have been worn as a charm to ward off evil spirits. Additionally, there is evidence that trepanation was a prehistoric emergency surgery performed after head injuries to remove broken pieces of bone from a cracked skull and the blood that frequently collects beneath the skull following a blow to the head. Such injuries can result from hunting mishaps, slips, falls, wild animals, or tools like clubs or spears.

Trepanation and interventions on live individuals’ skulls are by no means a practice of modern medicine. Instead, a historical perspective reveals a millennia-old history of skull incisions, including self-trepanation, among many peoples in South America, Africa, and Europe. When trepanation became standard practice throughout the Renaissance, physicians created various devices to meet the need. In the past, trepanation devices were less sophisticated and were constructed of flint, obsidian, or stricter materials like stone blades. Later, metals like bronze and copper were added.

1750 BCE — The Code of Hammurabi, one of the earliest Babylonian laws, lists the regulations governing surgeons, medical malpractice, and victims’ compensation.

The Babylonian monarch Hammurabi, who ruled from 1792 to 1750 B.C., established the Code of Hammurabi, one of the first and most comprehensive written law systems. Along the Euphrates River, Hammurabi developed the city-state of Babylon to encompass all of southern Mesopotamia.

The goal of Hammurabi’s Code was to establish peace rather than to accord everyone the equality they were due genuinely. The Hammurabi Code embodied the notion that society’s rules should precede individual liberties. For instance, the husband or father should manage the family’s finances. The regulations aimed to safeguard women who required society’s assistance, notably widows and divorcees. As a result, equality was present, but to a lesser extent than it should have been.

Nine (215-223) of the 282 rules in Hammurabi’s Code are related to medical practice. The previous work or societal contributions made by doctors were not considered. Additionally, the uncertainty of medical research and the likelihood of the outcome was not considered. The legal system was founded on the concepts of retaliation and penalties. Since the dawn of civilization, doctors have been the victims of harsh medical control. At the start of civilization, Hammurabi held that physicians should be punished if the prognosis was unfavorable. He could not comprehend the medical profession’s limitations and the complexity of the human body.

In some ways, our society is returning to the era of an antiquated medical care system due to efforts to implement managed healthcare. Some injured patients may welcome a shift toward heavy sanctions in the name of justice and purely out of retaliation. Still, we must consider the harmful outcomes of complicated diseases, the limitations of science, and the peculiarities of the human body.

1550 BCE — The Ebers Papyrus, a medical treatise written in ancient Egypt, describes how to surgically heal severe burns and crocodile attacks.

Ancient Egyptian manuscripts known as the Ebers Papyrus, which were written on papyrus, offer a peek at medical practices and procedures in ancient Egypt. The papyri provide information about illness, diagnosis, and treatment options, including surgical procedures, magical spells, and herbal medicines. There may have been more medical papyri than is now known, but many have been destroyed by grave robbery. Treatment of the Ancient Egyptians, the most important study of the medical papyri ever conducted, was published by the Humboldt University of Berlin.

One of the earliest known medical writings is the Ebers papyrus, an Egyptian collection of medicinal literature dating to around 1550 BC. The scroll includes 700 mystical recipes and traditional cures for ailments ranging from toenail discomfort to crocodile bites, as well as instructions on getting rid of insects, rodents, and scorpions from your home. It also includes a startlingly realistic explanation of the circulatory system, highlighting the heart’s role as the source of blood flow and that blood arteries may be found throughout the body.

Most ancient Egyptian books are either privately held or kept in libraries worldwide. They were written long before they were discovered and published. The Berlin Papyrus was the first papyrus to be found. Heinrich Brugsch discovered it and later published it in 1863. Walter Wreszinski released a translation of this papyrus in 1909, although Heinrich was the first to investigate it.

600 BCE — Sushruta, the founding father of surgery, pioneered plastic surgery, including rhinoplasty.

One of the first books on medicine and surgery was written in the sixth century BCE by an Indian physician named Sushruta, who is known as the Father of Indian Medicine and the Father of Plastic Surgery. The world’s earliest surgical treatise, rhinoplasty, was initially performed by Susruta.

His writings are collected in a monumental thesis known as the Sushruta Samhita, which may have been the first textbook on surgery. He discusses surgical tools, techniques, diseases, medicinal herbs and preparations, dissection, and the study of human anatomy, embryology, and fractures.

The Susruta Samhita, a well-known work of Susruta, has not survived and only exists in copies and alterations. It includes the first documented explanation of fundamental surgical procedures. Susruta’s Samhita emphasized surgical issues, including the usage of particular tools and kinds of techniques. One can discover important old Hindu anatomical concepts in his writings. The fact that he felt students seeking to become surgeons should get a solid understanding of the human body’s structure is also persuasive proof that the knowledge of human anatomy was disclosed by observing the body’s surface and via human dissection. He conducted procedures using crude surgical tools that paved the way for today’s treatments. Perhaps Sushruta is most remembered for the nasal reconstructive flap, which is still employed in various forms.

950 CE — One of the most outstanding medieval surgeons, the Arab Abulcasis, is said to have learned many of his skills from Greek physicians.

The inventor of modern surgery, known in the West as Abulcasis, was not only a renowned instructor whose medical publications influenced surgical practices in Europe up until the Renaissance and afterward.

Abulcasis was born in 936 AD in Al-Zahra, a neighborhood six miles northwest of Cordoba, the capital of Muslim Spain. He was in service during a period known as the Golden Age of Arab Spain when the scientific and mathematical fields were at their pinnacle. He had a long and illustrious medical career before passing away in 1013 AD at seventy-seven.

He wrote his well-known work, Al Tasreef Liman Ajaz Aan Al-Talef. Al-Talef wrote his thirty-volume medical book between 936 and 1013 AD during the Middle Ages. It culminated almost fifty years of training, practice, knowledge, and experience in the medical field. The medical encyclopedia’s thirty volumes addressed a variety of medical topics. Early descriptions of neurosurgical diagnosis and treatment, including the surgical management of head injuries and skull fractures, spinal injuries and dislocations, hydrocephalus and subdural effusions, headaches, and many other medical conditions, make up a sizable portion of his work in surgery. There were sections on midwifery, pharmacology, therapeutics, dietetics, psychotherapy, weights and measures, and medical chemistry, in addition to parts on medicine and surgery. He explained in-depth how to use hooks, scalpels, and surgical blades.

Additionally, he developed and created obstetric forceps, clutching forceps, and surgical scissors. He was the first to illustrate surgical tools for instructional purposes and to demonstrate how to make them. He made important discoveries in pediatric surgery. He was the first to go into great detail about the medical characteristics of hemophilia. In addition to hydrocephalus, he reported harelip, adenoids, ranula, imperforated external urinary meatus, perforated anus, hermaphrodites, gynecomastia, supernumerary, and webbed fingers. Until the thirteenth century, his surgical teachings were the most sophisticated in the Middle Ages.

1363 — The Great Surgery, or Chirurgia Magna, was written by the French physician Guy de Chauliac.

The author of Chirurgia Magna and the most significant physician and surgeon of the fourteenth century was Guy de Chauliac. It was translated into many other languages (including Middle English) and was widely read by physicians in late medieval Europe. He received his medical education in Toulouse, Montpellier, Paris, and Bologna, where he rose to prominence as a leading surgeon. Chauliac’s standing as a doctor immediately gained notoriety. He received an invitation to the Papal Court in Avignon, France, to work as Pope Clement VI’s physician. Later, he served as the personal physician of Pope Urban V and Pope Innocent VI. In 1353, he ended his excellent book.

Medical professionals left Avignon in 1348 as the Black Death spread there. Charlie continued to work, attending to plague victims and diligently recording their symptoms. He said that he had acquired the illness and recovered from it. Through his observations, Chauliac could differentiate between Bubonic and Pneumonic Plague. Although the cause of the infection was unclear, the plague was known to be infectious, and Chauliac advised air purification, venesection (bleeding), and a nutritious diet as treatments.

The treatise, divided into seven volumes, covers anatomy, cauterization, medications, anesthetics, wounds, fractures, ulcers, rare disorders, and antidotes. He discusses several surgical treatments, including those for hernia and cataracts, which were previously handled mainly by con artists, and a narcotic inhalation used as a hypnotic for surgical patients. However, by promoting invasive wound therapy, the study tended to hinder advancement in surgery.

Chaucer’s treatments included using oakum, egg-white-treated bandages, and many intriguing procedures like rubbing the scrotum to stop bleeding, as well as surgical procedures like intubation, tracheotomy, and suturing. He also described the use of anesthetic gas when performing patient amputations. Chauliac’s conviction that surgeons need to have a solid grasp of anatomy is influenced by Galen. According to what he stated, a surgeon who does not understand his anatomy is like a blind guy cutting a log.

The 1540s — The barber-surgeons started to conduct bloodletting and teeth extractions.

In the Middle Ages, barber-surgeons often treated soldiers before, during, and after the war, one of Europe’s most prevalent types of medical professionals. Barbers, who had the coordination and razors necessary for their craft, were often relied upon to do surgery during this time, performing everything from hair cutting to amputations.

Barber surgeons were introduced to the monks’ practice of bloodletting, which involves withdrawing blood from a patient to treat or prevent illness and disease. This technique cemented barber surgeons’ place in the surgical profession. Blood loss and infection caused a very high surgical death rate. However, barbers also used leeches since doctors believed that bleeding patients helped cure sickness. Barbers with a talent for using razors and scissors facilitated bloodletting for the ill.

Physicians, on the other hand, believed that they were above surgery. While they frequently opted to work in academia or hospitals, physicians mostly watched surgical patients and gave advice. As the field developed, barber-surgeons, rather than doctors, were responsible for performing surgical procedures and caring for troops during and after conflict.

This societal position was swiftly filled by barber-surgeons who had received specialized training in using sharp tools for invasive operations. The nobles of Europe quickly embraced barber-surgeons and gave them residency in their castles, where they continued to serve the privileged. These virtuous craftsmen trimmed hair, operated on patients, and even amputated limbs while carrying the sharpest knives.

The 1600s — The first surgeon to use amputation as a gangrene cure was Wilhelm Fabry, also known as The Father of German Surgery.

Wilhelm Fabry was among the pioneers of using tourniquets and ligatures to stop bleeding. Fabry, also known as Fabricius Hildanus, had a first-rate humanistic classical education and became proficient in Latin. He also introduced numerous new surgical devices and improved amputation procedures. In Geneva, Switzerland, Fabry was apprenticed to several military and barber-surgeons, notably Jean Griffon. He trained in Switzerland and Germany after studying in Switzerland, France, and Italy.

Fabricius Hildanus was renowned for his surgical prowess, quickness, conservative surgical philosophy, and affinity for classical surgeons and physicians. He improved the medical supply pack for battlefield surgery and created the otoscope, also known as an aural speculum, a device for examining the whole ear canal. In his 1593 book De gangraena et sphacelo, On gangrene and sloughing, Fabricius Hildanus advised surgery for necrosis far above the infected part.

But Fabricius Hildanus also used antiquated military and trauma surgery techniques, such as the so-called weapon salve. It is a type of sympathetic magic in which lotions, herbs, or oils are placed on the weapon, believing it will heal the damage, even if the injured person is hundreds of miles away.

When using sympathetic magic, one thing is affected while another is intended to experience the effects of the first object. Examples include dancing to generate rain, shooting at dummy animals to make a good hunt, and spreading disease on people by pinning voodoo dolls.

1818 — The first transfusion of human blood takes place.

To cure a patient’s postpartum hemorrhage during childbirth, British physician James Blundell successfully transfused human blood for the first time in 1818. He takes about four ounces of blood from the patient’s husband’s arm and successfully transfuses it to the wife with a syringe. He carries out ten transfusions between 1825 and 1830, five beneficial to his patients, and he reports the results. He also develops numerous pieces of transfusion equipment and gives logical justifications.

1843 — The first hysterectomy is carried out in England.

In Manchester, England, in 1843, Charles Clay conducted the first abdominal hysterectomy. Sadly, the patient’s condition was misdiagnosed, and she passed away shortly after the procedure.

The surgical removal of a woman’s uterus sometimes referred to as her womb, is called a hysterectomy. Other reproductive organs may occasionally also be removed during this operation. There are hazards even though they are usually relatively safe. In each case of a woman, the benefits of its usage in treating uterine cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, and other conditions must be carefully balanced against the drawbacks.

1843 — For the first time, ether is utilized as an anesthetic.

Both ether and chloroform had been used as surgical anesthetics for years by the time the American Civil War began in 1861. Both anesthetic substances were created in about the same period (the 1840s), but chloroform quickly gained popularity since it worked more rapidly and was not explosive. Military medics treated thousands of wounded Union and Confederate soldiers through tens of thousands of amputations and other treatments throughout the Civil War. Ether and chloroform, in particular, became essential instruments.

1846 — At the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a neck tumor was removed during surgery, marking the first public use of ether as an anesthetic.

The first practical public demonstration of using ether for surgical anesthesia was carried out on October 16, 1846, paving the way for painless surgery. The theater on the fourth level of the Bulfinch Building at Massachusetts General Hospital was the site of this historic occasion.

Gilbert Abbott had a tumor beneath his jaw removed during the procedure performed by anesthesiologist William Morton and surgeon John Warren. A different surgeon in the room wrote a letter outlining the process and sent it to a friend in London. This letter was delivered by the mail ship S.S. Arcadia, which arrived in Liverpool in the middle of December 1846.

1855 — Mary Edwards Walker was the first female surgeon in America who completed medical school.

There has only ever been one woman to win the Presidential Medal of Honor in American history. That individual is Mary Edwards Walker. Walker was the first female U.S. spy, a physician, an abolitionist, and a supporter of women’s rights. An Army physician in the Civil War. Her accomplishments have been honored nationwide, and Walker’s hometown dedicated a 900-pound bronze monument in her honor in 2012.

Walker frequently traveled across the lines to assist soldiers and civilians. When Confederate forces took Walker prisoner in April 1864 as a spy, she had just finished helping a Confederate surgeon during a procedure.

1867 — The antiseptic principle in the practice of surgery, written by British surgeon Joseph Lister, espouses the merits of cleanliness in the operating room.

The process of antisepsis involves utilizing drugs known as antiseptics to get rid of the bacteria that cause illnesses. Joseph Lister, a British surgeon, invented it. Joseph Lister discovered a method to stop wounds from getting infected during and after surgery. He was the first to incorporate surgery into germ theory science. Modern infection control is based on Lister’s Antisepsis System. His ideas made surgery safe and helped save numerous lives even today.

The advent of anesthetics made surgery painless for the patient and enabled the surgeon to attempt more complex and labor-intensive procedures. Unfortunately, this resulted in a sharp rise in the incidence of surgical infection-related mortality.

1885 — The first successful appendectomy takes place in Iowa.

Dr. William West Grant performed the first successful appendectomy in Davenport, Iowa, in 1885. The patient was Mary Gartside, who was 22 years old. An appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix, a tiny, worm-like colon appendage (the large bowel).

1893 — At Provident Hospital in Chicago, the first successful heart surgery is done to fix a hole in the heart’s lining or pericardium.

Daniel Hale Williams, a barber’s son, established the first Black-owned hospital in America and performed the first successful heart operation in 1893.

James Cornish, a young Chicagoan, was stabbed in the chest one steamy summer night in 1893 and taken to Provident. When Cornish began to experience shock, Williams was worried there may be a deeper incision close to the heart. He requested the presence of six doctors—two black and two white—to see the procedure. Williams examined the cut between the two ribs, which had exposed the breastbone, in a small operating room under a rudimentary anesthetic. He sliced the rib cartilage and made a little heart trapdoor. Cornish located a damaged left internal mammary artery below and repaired it with sutures.

Then, after carefully examining the pericardium (the sac around the heart), he discovered a gash where the knife had cut the right coronary artery. Williams grasped the borders of the palpitating incision with forceps and stitched them together since a transfusion was difficult with the heart pumping.

James Cornish left the hospital just 51 days after receiving what seemed to be a fatal injury. After the operation, he survived for more than 20 years. The press praised the historical process.

1895 — Germany performs the first X-ray.

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen’s discovery of X-rays, a significant discovery that immediately changed the areas of physics and medicine, had one of the most instantaneous effects of any scientific discovery.

Within a year after Roentgen publicized his discovery, the medical industry’s use of X-rays for diagnosis and therapy was a well-established component. The X-ray went from the lab to general use in an astonishingly short period.

1896 — To treat a stab incision in the muscle of the right ventricle, the first successful open-heart surgery is carried out in Germany.

German surgeon Ludwig Rehn repaired a heart stabbing using a direct suture, making it the first successful cardiac operation ever conducted internationally. This groundbreaking procedure sparked ethical debate when he presented his results at a surgical symposium a year later.

Rehn’s contributions to surgery include performing the first thyroidectomy in 1880 and elucidating why local aniline factory employees developed cancer.

1905 — The first successful cornea transplant is conducted.

The cornea, the transparent part of the eye, was the subject of the first successful transplants. In December 1905, the first corneal transplant was carried out on humans after almost a century of tests on animals, primarily rabbits. The corneas of a man who had previously been blinded were transplanted in this first transplant procedure by Austrian ophthalmologist Eduard Zirm. Despite difficulties after surgery in one eye, the patient could go back to work and have his or her other eye restored to vision.

1917 — An English sailor who had been burnt had the first reported cosmetic surgery procedure.

On the battlefield, treating facial injuries was difficult. There have been instances where surgeons have repaired a jagged cut without accounting for the quantity of tissue lost. The flesh tightened as the wounds healed, twisting the face into a disgusting grimace. Men who have jaw injuries may not be able to eat or drink. Some men had to be nursed while sitting up to prevent suffocation. Others suffered from blindness or had a big hole where their nose formerly was.

But in 1917, an English sailor in World War 1 named Walter Yeo received the first skin flap after getting injured during a naval battle.

1928 — Alexander Fleming discovered antibiotics.

Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin at St. Mary’s Hospital in London in 1928. Because of this finding, antibiotics were developed, significantly lowering the frequency of infections that resulted in mortality. But it took more than a decade for penicillin to be made publicly available as a medicine for bacterial infections.

1940 — The first surgery for a metal hip replacement is completed.

American surgeon Dr. Austin Moore performed the first metallic hip replacement in 1940 at Columbia Hospital in South Carolina. Moore had created a prosthesis for the proximal femur with a big Vitallium head. The early hemiarthroplasty, or partial hip replacement, used an implant about 12 inches long and bolted to the end of the femoral shaft.

The 1950s — Colombia performs the first LASIK eye operation.

Jose Barraquer, an ophthalmologist from Columbia, invented the microkeratome and the keratomileusis procedure. He experimented with how much of the cornea needed to be left unchanged to get long-term outcomes and carved tiny flaps in the cornea to change its form.

1952 — The first successful heart surgery is performed in which the heart is stopped and restarted.

The heart is halted and restarted during the first successful cardiac operation. Dr. Walton Lillehei and Dr. John Lewis, two surgeons from the University of Minnesota, underwent the first open heart surgery on a five-year-old girl born with a hole in her heart on September 2, 1952.

The girl was cooled down with a special blanket till her body temperature hit 81 degrees F after being anesthetized to halt her shivering. She could survive without a beating heart for ten minutes at this temperature, not four. Lillehei and Lewis sliced into her heart, which was still slowly beating, and immediately stitched up the hole after clamping the inflow to her heart to cause it to empty of blood. The girl was then placed in a warm water bath to restore her body temperature after seeing her mended heart beating correctly for the first time in her life. The endeavor was successful.

1953 — The first successful heart-lung bypass surgery is carried out.

Cardiopulmonary bypass was first successfully used in a heart surgery case in May 1953 by Dr. John H. Gibbon, Jr. Atrial septal defect closure was the goal of the surgery. However, CPB management issues almost resulted in a tragedy. The team’s quick response spared the patient’s life.

1954 — The first successful kidney transplant is carried out.

Joseph E. Murray and his team at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston completed the first kidney transplant from one twin to another. Without using any immunosuppressive drugs, the surgeons accomplished this.

1966 — The first successful pancreatic transplant is performed.

The University of Minnesota conducted the first pancreas transplant ever in December 1966. In addition, W. Kelly transplanted a kidney and a pancreas into a diabetic patient receiving dialysis to restore function to both organs. Since then, this transplant has seen the same graft and patient survival rates as the other abdominal solid organ transplants due to technological and immunological advancements.

1967 — The first functional liver transplant is carried out.

Thomas Starzl successfully did the first liver transplant on a person in 1967. The challenges with recipient selection, surgical and perioperative treatment, immunosuppression, and infectious problems throughout the following two decades.

1978 — The first IVF baby was born, and techniques for in vitro fertilization (IVF) have evolved significantly since then.

At Manchester, England’s Oldham and District General Hospital, parents Lesley and Peter Brown welcome their first child born through in vitro fertilization (IVF), Louise Joy Brown. The birth of Louise Brown, the first “test-tube baby” in history, has come to represent the turning point in the acceptance of technologically assisted human reproduction. It was a heavily processed, public reality.

1982 — Jarvik-7’s artificial heart was utilized.

The Jarvik 7 artificial heart, created by Robert Jarvik, MD, is renowned for being the first successful permanent artificial heart. The first Jarvik 7 implantation in patient Barney Clark in 1982 attracted the interest of international media.

The first permitted bridge-to-organ transplant procedure employed the Jarvik-7 complete artificial heart. A temporary solution called “bridge to transplantation” replaces a failing heart with a mechanical pump while patients wait for a human heart to be implanted.

Before a donor heart could be placed, the patient, 25-year-old Michael Drummond, endured nine days of life with the mechanical pump. Drummond later kept the heart in his residence before giving it to the Smithsonian.

1985 — A robotic operation is conducted for the first time in history.

The 1980s saw the first surgical procedures using robotics. The first surgical robot, PUMA 560, was used for a brain biopsy. Robotics were used at the time of this treatment in 1985 to lessen movement caused by hand tremors. Then, in 1988, a transurethral prostate surgery was performed using the PROBOT, a device created at the Imperial College London.

1998 — The first successful hand transplant is performed.

A team of surgeons in Lyons, France, performed the first human hand transplant in September 1998. The team was directed by Jean-Michel Dubernard and used a male recipient who had had a catastrophic mid-forearm amputation and could not mentally adjust to assimilating a new hand. His postoperative immunosuppressive medication, which he subsequently abandoned, led to severe tissue rejection.

Reconstructive surgery has entered a new era. The possibility for composite tissue allotransplantation was demonstrated in this case (CTA). While CTA is not a novel technique, it does combine the fundamentals of reconstructive microsurgery and transplant surgery. As a result, it achieves the objectives of absolute defect correction with anatomically and physiologically identical tissue without any complications associated with donor site morbidity in autologous tissue transfer.

1999 — FDA authorization has been granted for Cyberknife, a robotic and imaging device used to treat brain tumors.

The FDA has only ever approved one robotic radiosurgery device, the Cyberknife, to perform radiosurgery on any body area. This kind of cancer treatment addresses tumors and a few other lesions and vascular abnormalities wherever they may be found in the body. It avoids harming healthy tissue as well. The Cyberknife is still the only technology that can monitor a moving tumor while the patient is breathing, even with Synchrony.

2000 — The United States approves the da Vinci robotic surgery system.

The da Vinci system was the primary robotic surgery system for more than 20 years after receiving the initial FDA certification in 2000. The device has received approval for use in adult and pediatric urology, gynecology, cardiothoracic, colorectal, head and neck, and general surgery.

The Da Vinci System consists of a surgeon’s console, usually in the same room as the patient, and a cart at the patient’s side with three to four interacting robotic arms that, depending on the model, operate from the console.

The components may function as scalpels, scissors, bovies, or graspers while holding things. The surgeon utilizes the controls on the console to move the robotic arms on the patient-side cart. The last component handles the 3D cameras. However, a human operator is always necessary for the system.

2007 — A first-ever natural orifice transluminal endoscopic procedure is carried out successfully.

A minimally invasive procedure called functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is used to remove obstructions from the sinuses and improve breathing. People with recurrent sinusitis (sinus infection), sinus deformity, or abnormal growths in the sinuses for whom non-surgical therapies have failed may require a FESS operation.

2008 — The Cleveland Clinic performs the first almost-complete face transplant on Connie Culp.

In 2008, medical professionals started a 22-hour process to replace 80% of Culp’s face with a deceased donor’s. Culp had about 30 previous corrective operations conducted before getting the transplant. Culp met the lady’s family, whose face had been donated to her a few years after the transplant procedure. The donor, 44-year-old Anna Kasper, had passed just two weeks before Christmas in 2008 due to a heart attack.

2010 — Pedro Cavadas and other Spanish doctors performed the first successful double-leg transplant.

In Spain, the first double leg transplant was carried out on a patient in his early 20s whose legs had been severed above the knees due to an automobile accident.

The Spanish National Transplant Organization authorized the transplant in May 2010, but it was not carried out until the next night, on July 10, when they located the proper donor. Surgeon Pedro Cavadas managed the operation at La Fe Hospital in Valencia. The procedure took almost 10 hours and more than 50 medical personnel.

2011 — The first successful windpipe transplant from synthetic tissue is carried out.

The surgery entailed implanting the recipient’s stem cells onto a synthetic framework to grow a new windpipe. According to experts, for the first time, a patient has now gotten an artificial windpipe developed in a lab entirely from the patient’s stem cells and without human donor tissue. Previous lab-produced transplants used tissue only, not an organ or a portion of the donor’s windpipe. A trachea, a tube-like airway linking the voice box and branches into both lungs, was developed in a lab in London by scientists.

At Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital, medical professionals inserted this artificial windpipe into a 36-year-old man with advanced tracheal cancer.

2013 — In St. Louis, Missouri, a paraplegic patient has the first successful nerve-transfer operation, enabling them to move their hands.

According to recent research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, a cutting-edge surgical procedure has helped patients with neck spinal cord injuries who were paralyzed partially regain some use of their hands and arms. Nine quadriplegic patients with neck spinal cord injuries underwent nerve-transfer surgery, and the experts evaluated the results. Every subject in the research said their hand and arm function had improved.

2014 — The first penis transplant was done in South Africa.

After experiencing problems from a routine circumcision, the unnamed patient underwent a life-saving operation three years ago to amputate his penis. The 21-year-old patient has fully recovered and reclaimed all of the transplanted organ’s capabilities. According to a statement released by the university on Friday, the nine-hour procedure was carried out on December 11 by surgeons from Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town and Stellenbosch University.

According to Bloomberg, there are 250 penile amputations predicted to occur annually in South Africa due to circumcision-related issues.

2016 — At the Cleveland Clinic, the first uterine transplant is performed.

2016 saw the Cleveland Clinic undertake the nation’s first uterus transplant. Less than two weeks after the operation, the woman had to have the uterus removed due to a possibly fatal complication. During a nine-hour procedure on February 24, 2016, a multidisciplinary Cleveland Clinic surgical team accomplished the first uterine transplant in the country. It was the initial step in a groundbreaking Cleveland Clinic experiment of uterine transplantation for women of reproductive age who had UFI. In 2017, Baylor reported their first live delivery following a transplant. Uterine transplantation is currently only performed in research procedures.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

1. What are the beginnings of surgery?

The beginnings of surgery are long and varied, with some of the earliest examples dating back to the Neolithic period. One of the most famous early surgeons was Hippocrates, who is considered the father of medicine. He and his followers developed essential surgery principles to prevent infection, such as cleanliness and sterilization.

During the Middle Ages, surgery became increasingly advanced, with new techniques and instruments being developed.

2. What are the most common surgical procedures today?

Some of the most common surgical procedures today include appendectomies, hernia repairs, gallbladder removal, and breast cancer surgery.

3. How have surgical procedures changed over time?

Surgical procedures have changed dramatically over time. In the past, surgery was often very invasive and involved a lot of cutting and stitching. Today, surgery is much less invasive due to advances in medical technology. Many procedures can now be performed using minimally invasive techniques, meaning patients can recover more quickly and with less pain.

4. What are the most common surgical procedures in the past?

Past most common surgical procedures include amputations, hernia repairs, and appendectomies.

5. What are some of the most significant advances in surgical technology over the past few decades?

Some of the most significant advances in surgical technology over the past few decades include minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery, and 3D printing.


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