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Chirurgia 2021 April;34(2):79-81

DOI: 10.23736/S0394-9508.20.05209-2

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

A glance in the history of surgery: barber or doctor?

Ilias VELISSARIOU, Emmanouil MAGIORKINIS , Aristidis DIAMANTIS

Office for the History of Hellenic Naval Medicine, Naval Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece



This paper sets out to give a short account of changes to the map of the history of the surgery medicine. A series of papers, original reports and reviews were retrieved and studied. History of surgery, as a medical discipline, was always intermingled with the history of medicine since the dawn of human history. Surgical instruments have been found since the bronze age, whereas in several ancient texts surgical procedures are described. However, one can realize that the history of the Barber Surgeon’s is rooted in a rich heritage of healing that dates to the Dark Ages. The crucial point that separated surgery from medicine, was the fact that catholic church forbids anatomical procedures and that doctors considered surgery not compatible with Medicine. Here, we present a short description of the life of a famous barber-surgeon, Ambroise Paré, who was one of the most notable surgeons of the European Renaissance and the father of modern surgery. Ambroise Paré “father of modem (scientific) surgery,” made significant contributions in many areas of medicine and surgery (orthopedics, military medicine, obstetrics, and dentistry), and his writings had considerable influence, not only during his lifetime but also for centuries afterward. Serving in the army, he revived the use of ligature instead of cautery with boiling oil and continued to devise and champion more humane treatments in medicine. He promoted the use of artificial limbs and introduced podalic version in childbirth, the manipulation of the fetus so that it is delivered feet first. He was surgeon to four kings of France, and his works were widely translated.


KEY WORDS: Barber surgeons; Surgical procedures, operative; History

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