Fantasy Surgery 1880-1930
In the late nineteenth century, for the first time in history, major surgery became reasonably safe. A mortality of up to 30% was considered reasonable. The living abdomen, hitherto a region as unexplored as darkest Africa, was opened up to light and to the knife in explorations not unlike those of Africa — bold, dramatic, often not too well thought out, and dangerous. Surgeons became enthusiastic — some of them wildly so. The subsequent period has been called 'the adolescence of surgery'. It included major surgery, often on the abdomen, done for psychiatric symptoms. Ovaries and wombs were removed and other organs hitched up higher inside the abdomen in an attempt to cure hysteria, neurasthenia or depression. This book is about the development and effect of some of these operations and about one of the period's most distinguished surgeons, Sir William Arbuthnot Lane. He was internationally famous in three fields of surgery (facial, mastoid and abdominal), then became deeply involved in removing colons — thought to be the 'sink' of the body and the source of dangerous infection.
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abdominal surgery abnormal Adami Alimentary Toxaemia American Gynecological Society anatomy Arbuthnot Lane Arthur Hurst Autobiography autointoxication Battey's operation became believed body British Medical Journal caecum cancer cause chronic constipation chronic intestinal stasis Clinical colectomy colon condition constipation criticism cure dangerous described developed diagnosis diet discussed disease disorder doctors example fantasies floating kidney focal sepsis fractures function Guy's Hospital gynaecology Hale White Health Society Hurst Ibid ideas important infection influence interest kinks Lancet Lane's large bowel large intestine later Layton lectures London medical profession Metchnikoff microbes movable kidney neurasthenia nineteenth century normal obstruction organs ovaries ovariotomy pain paraffin pathological patients performed physician poisoning popular practice produced ptosis published regarded removal result Royal College seems sepsis Society of Medicine stomach surgeon symptoms Tanner theory of autointoxication thought tion toxins Treves tumour unpublished paper Victorian views visceral whloh William Hale White Willie women wrote