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Early surgery (1883) using carbolic acid spray

Early surgery (1883) using carbolic acid spray

N700/0028

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Early surgery (1883). At that time antiseptic methods in surgery were widely used thanks to the work done by the English surgeon Baron Joseph Lister (1827-1912). By 1867 Lister, after having read Pasteur's work on fermentation, realised that sepsis was caused by microorganisms which could be killed with chemical compounds. Lister used mainly crude phenol solution (carbolic acid) as antiseptic for dressings and instruments and as a spray in the air of the operating theatre. The image clearly shows on the right the device used to spray the phenol in the air. Later the use of spray was abandoned in favour of other aseptic methods with steam as a sterilizing agent.

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