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Ephraim McDowell, American gynaecological surgeon

Ephraim McDowell, American gynaecological surgeon

H413/0138

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Ephraim McDowell. Portrait of Ephraim McDowell (1771-1830), the American surgeon who performed the first ovariotomy (ovarian tumour removal) in 1809. The ovariotomy, or salpingo-oophorectomy, consisted of removing a cyst, ovary and fallopian tube. His patient was 47-year-old Jane Todd Crawford, whose belly had swollen so much that she initially thought she was pregnant. The operation was a success, Crawford was up and about within 5 days and lived for another 31 years. McDowell went on to perform 13 ovariotomies, of which 8 patients recovered. His results were initially treated with scepticism but the first European ovariotomy was performed in 1824.

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