Ambroise Parе (1509–1590)
Ambroise Parе may be thought of as the father of modern prosthetics. A French military surgeon, Pare developed treatments of wounds and amputations which greatly reduced the death rate on the battlefield. He abandoned the use of cauterization and reintroduced ligatures to tie off blood vessels. Pare advocated natures healing power and the inscription, "Je le pansay, Dieu le quarit" (I dressed him; God healed him) appears on his grave. Pare treated many amputees during his career and is credited with the first medical description in 1551 of the phantom limb syndrome. The illustration of a mechanical hand appears in his 1564 book, Instrumenta chyrurgiae et icones anathomicae. Pare had no way of understanding the advancements in materials, surgery and antibiotics needed to make the prosthetic hand a reality.
Johannes Scultetus (1595-1645)
Johannes Schultheiss (Schultes, Latinized to Scultetus) was one of the best known Italy trained surgeons in Germany in the 17th century. Born at Ulm on the Danube, he was a pupil of Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente and Adriaan van de Spiegel at Padua. His Armamentarium Chirurgicum... (Arsenal of Surgery,1655) was published 10 years after his death by his nephew, who edited his uncle’s notes and added engravings. The book provides a picture of 17th c. surgical practices and instruments, illustrating amputation of the breast, reduction of dislocations, obstetrical delivery by forceps, anal rectal surgery, neurosurgery and dental surgery. He invented many devices including the Scultetus bandage used in abdominal wounds.
George Bartisch (1535-1607)
George Bartisch’s Ophthalmodouleia, das ist Augendienst (1583) is regarded as the first systematic work in any surgical specialty. Bartisch lacked the financial resources to attend medical school and instead pursued a career in surgery (then a separate profession). He eventually developed a substantial practice and was appointed oculist to the elector of Saxony in 1588. Tailoring his book to his fellow practitioners, he wrote in German rather than in Latin and included vivid woodcuts. He provided detailed descriptions of eye injuries, diseases, medications, surgery, wound dressing and spectacles.
Pieter the Elder Bruegel (1525-1569)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a Dutch painter and printmaker, was known for his landscapes and peasant scenes. Some call him “Peasant Bruegel” to distinguish him from other members of the Brueghel dynasty of painters. Within his landscapes Bruegel recounted folk stories, combining several elements of a story within a single painting. Many paintings have a cartoon character which may have concealed complex levels of aphorisms, satire and social commentary. His painting, Cutting Out the Stone of Madness or an Operation on the Head (1568), shows a chaotic and comic asylum where patients are undergoing trepanning procedures to relieve madness.
Giovanni Andrea Della Croce (1509-1575)
Little is known about Giovanni Andrea Della Croce (1509-1575) who published a textbook on surgery, Cirugia Universale e Perfect in 1573. The woodcut depicts a domestic setting including a child, dog and cat with the patient strapped prone on a table as the surgeon appears to drill a hole in the skull.
Walther Hermann Ryff (c.1505-1548)
Walther Hermann Ryff's Grosse Chirurgie: Traumatologie und Feldchirurgie published in 1545 is largely descriptive rather than analytical and summarizes sixteenth-century surgical instruments, drugs, injuries and treatments. Ryff trained as an apothecary before becoming a municipal physician and surgeon in Strasbourg (Alsace). The print shows a left below the knee amputation and is an example of the colored woodcuts Ryff used for his textbooks on a variety of subjects including botany, distilling, nutrition, mathematics, anatomy, engineering and surgery.
Das Buch der Cirurgia (1497)
Das Buch der Cirurgia was the first surgical handbook printed in German (Strassburg, 1497). Hieronymus Brunschwig (c. 1450-1512) wrote the Cirurgia as a manual for general practitioners of surgery and described the treatment of wounds (particularly from gunshots), dislocations, fractures, and amputations. The illustration shows a technique for re-fracturing a leg which has healed in a position which prevents proper ambulation.
Vidus Vidius (c.1500-1569)
Treatments for joint dislocations and simple bone fractures by traction and compression were known in ancient times. In the 10th century a Byzantine physician, Niketas (also spelled Nicetos), transcribed ancient surgical manuscripts which included the commentary by Galen (129 -200) on the treatment of dislocations by Hippocrates (460 BCE -380 BCE). The texts and illustrations were brought to Crete in 1495 and were used by Guido Guidi, known by his Latin name Vidus Vidius, in his book about surgical treatments. Guidi supported the principles established by Hippocrates and Galen and gained fame as a teacher of Vesalius (1514-1564). Chirugia of Vidus Vidius (1544) shows simple and complex methods of reducing fractures and dislocations, including the famous Scamnum traction table attributed to Hippocrates.
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Hospital scene. From Paracelsus Opus Chirurgicum. 1566