Amputation set, circa 1850

Amputation set, circa 1850

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This image is part of the feature Surgeon's Tools of Yesteryear

Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Brass bound amputation set, with scalpels (for small incisions), Liston knives (for rapid cutting of soft tissues around the bone) and bone forceps (for clasping the bone during cutting). This set dates from around 1850, England. Amputation was generally the only treatment option when infection or trauma occurred in the limbs and extremities (such as the fingers) in nineteenth century medicine, before the introduction of antibiotics and more refined surgical techniques. In this era, pre-anaesthesia and before the implementation of antiseptic techniques, survival rates for amputees were very low.

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