Engraving of a lithotomy operation being performed

Engraving of a lithotomy operation being performed

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Credit: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lithotomy. 18th century engraving of a lithotomy operation being performed on a patient as a number of men hold him down. A lithotomy consists of making an incision into a duct or organ, especially the bladder, for the removal of a stone (calculus). These stones are usually comprised of crystalline mineral salts held together by sticky organic matter. Surgery before the discovery of effective anaesthetics and antiseptics was painful and risky. The accepted medical practice was for surgeons to complete their work as quickly as physically possible. However, post-operative infection often killed patients. Image from 1707.

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Keywords: 18th century surgery, artwork, bladder operation, healthcare, historical image, history, lithotomy, medical, medicine, surgery, surgical care

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