Surgery has been performed since ancient times. The earliest recorded surgical operations were circumcision and trepanation. (Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the penis. Trepanation involves making a hole in the skull to relieve pressure and/or release spirits.) The earliest instruments used in these procedures were flint or obsidian (shiny stone) knives and saws. Stone Age skulls from around the world have been found with holes in them from trepanning. Primitive people also used knives to cut off fingers damaged in accidents
The ancient Hindus of India excelled at surgery. The great surgical textbook, Sushruta Samhita, probably dates back to the last centuries B.C. This work described 20 sharp and 101 blunt surgical instruments. These instruments included forceps, pincers, trocars (sharp-pointed instruments fitted with a small tube), and cauteries (irons to heat and sear tissue). Most of these surgical tools were made of steel. The ancient Hindus also used lancets to carry out cataract surgery, scalpels to restore amputated noses via plastic surgery, and sharp knives to remove bladder stones. At about the same time, ancient Peruvians were performing trepanation. They left behind various surgical instruments, including scalpels and chisels made of obsidian. The Greeks practiced surgery mostly on external parts of the body. They usually used forceps, knives, and probes. Bronze Roman surgical instruments found at Pompeii include a scalpel with a steel blade, spring and scissor forceps, a sharp hook, and shears. In the first century A.D. , Cel-cus A tray of modern surgical instruments. The ancient Hindus used lancets to carry out cataract surgery, scalpels to restore amputated noses via plastic surgery, and sharp knives to remove bladder stones. described the use of ligatures. Ligatures are used to tie off blood vessels and reduce bleeding during operations. Galen ( A.D. 130-200) gave detailed and sensible instructions on...
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