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Amputation knives, circa 1850

Amputation knives, circa 1850

C022/6672

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Set of four Liston amputation knives with ebony handles, dating from around 1850, England. These knives were used in surgical amputations of the mid-nineteenth century, they would be used to cut rapidly through soft tissue and muscle to prepare for the severing of the bone with a saw. The knives take their name from Scottish surgeon, Robert Liston (1797-1847) who invented these double-edged blades to aid the precision and speed of amputation procedures. He became well-renowned for this style because in the pre-anaesthesia era, speed ensured minimal pain and higher survival rates for patients.

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