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In this episode, we return to a previous series, looking at the history of different organs in the body. The history of our understanding of the spleen, including its function, will be covered, as well as the development of surgery on the spleen. And in another instalment of Suture Tales, we'll meet Quincy Gardner Colton, a medical school dropout, …
 
In this bonus suture tale episode, we cover the life and works of the famous Italian surgeon and anatomist Antonio Scarpa. While many are familiar with him from the eponymously named fascia, his contributions to the science of medicine extend well beyond this. Known as a tyrant in life, a number of anatomical structures were removed after his death…
 
In this episode, we cover the legendary figure of Hua T'o, the best known (and one of the few) surgeons from Ancient China, as well as the state of surgical treatments at the time. The tale of his most famous operation, on the General Guan Yu, is also examined. Finally, the role of culture and religion on the development of anatomical and surgical …
 
In this episode, we'll take a look at some of the contributions he made in surgery and anatomy, as well as some of the errors of his that were repeated for centuries before being disproven. We'll also have a look at the history of the first known surgery, trephination (or drilling a hole in the head), the origins of the word 'cancer', and lots more…
 
In the 100th episode of Legends of Surgery, we will explore the life of one of medicine and surgery's greatest influences: the Greek physician from Ancient Rome, Claudius Galen. The events of his life will be covered, as well as some of the amazing feats he performed. In the second part of this mini-series, Galen's lasting impact on anatomy and sur…
 
In this episode, we'll cover the history of transgender medicine, with a focus on the development of the main surgical procedures in gender reassignment surgery, including vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, and metoidioplasty. A number of trailblazing surgeons and patients will be covered, and there is even a suture tale about a strange Victorian practice…
 
In this episode, we're going to do something a bit different. I've taken a number of shorter but very interesting topics, either that I've come across on my own or have been suggested by listeners, and turned 5 of them into this episode. There's a medication, a maneuver, a procedure, a person, and a device! And if you have an idea for a topic, plea…
 
In this bonus episode, we cover the long and strange history of the bezoar, a stone that forms in the stomachs of some animals (including humans!) We will go back to the earliest recordings of bezoars in medicine, their use as a treatment for poison, particularly in the Islamic medical world, their rise in popularity in Renaissance Europe, and of c…
 
In this episode, we explore the origins of our understanding of blood and its function, going all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. We'll discuss the humeral system championed by Galen, and how these concepts were finally corrected with the discovery of the circulatory system. The consumption of blood, a practice dating back to ancient times…
 
This episode was written by a guest contributor, Harvard student Simar Bajaj. In it, we cover some of the anatomy and function of the esophagus, before tracing the history of the earliest attempts at operating on the esophagus (in ancient Egypt!) up to the modern era. We'll meet a number of surgical legends, and explore some related and fun topics,…
 
In this episode, we will cover the story of providing fluids and nutrients intravenously, leading up to Dr. Stanley Dudrick and the development of TPN (total parenteral nutrition), including the first patients to receive this groundbreaking therapy. As usual, we will explore a few related topics, including some of the earliest experiments with radi…
 
The subject for this episode, written and narrated by Dr. David Sigmon, is the great medieval surgeon Guy de Chauliac. His life and works are covered, including the 'Chirurgia Magna', or 'Great Writings on Surgery', but the main focus is his role in fighting the Black Death in Avignon, France, in 1342, and the lessons he learned about the plague th…
 
This episode was written by a guest contributor, Simar Bajaj, a student of the History of Science at Harvard University. In it, we cover the story of the mitral valve, from its earliest descriptions, to the discovery of its function and pathology, and of course, the evolution of the surgical treatment of both stenosis and regurgitation. In addition…
 
This episode was written by a guest contributor, Dr. David Warmflash, and covers the history of the use of induced hypothermia in surgery, from its earliest days in Ancient Egypt, through Napoleon-era France, and to the early days of cardiac surgery! We will also explore a more modern application in the setting of trauma, and of course, take a few …
 
In this episode, we'll cover the brilliant but difficult character of Guillaume Dupuytren, and of course the disease which bears his name. In addition to his life, we'll take a deep dive into the history of Dupuytren's disease, also known as the Viking's disease, the curse of the MacCrimmons, and the Hand of Benediction, among others. There are lot…
 
In this episode, host Dr. David Sigmon tells the inspirational true story of Dr. Alexander Thomas Augusta, the first African American surgeon in the Northern Army during the American Civil War, the first African American professor of medicine in the US, and civil rights activist. He overcame deeply entrenched racism to practice medicine and helped …
 
In this episode, we will trace the history of the parathyroid gland, from its identification, to the determination of its function, the understanding of hyperparathyroidism, and of course, the surgical removal of abnormal glands! Along the way we'll meet a Swedish medical student, a rhinoceros, a sea captain, and of course, a number of legends of s…
 
In this 2nd part of a 2-part series on the world-famous cardiac surgeons Drs. DeBakey and Cooley, we cover their life's work, their feud, and eventual reconciliation. In addition, the history of artificial hearts is covered, as well as other topics, including the reason for Jehovah's Witnesses refusing blood transfusions. And in the latest Suture T…
 
In this episode, Dr. David Sigmon tells us the tale of the Russian surgeon Dr. Pirogov, detailing his early life, including family tragedies that would shape him, his medical and surgical training, as well as his numerous contributions to surgery. Not only did he advocate for anatomy teaching, leading to the publication of an anatomical atlas 'Anat…
 
In this episode, we cover the early lives and career beginnings of the famous cardiovascular surgeons Drs. Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley, up to their joining Baylor University College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Of course, we will take a number of side roads on the journey to cover some interesting related history. As well, this episode intr…
 
This is another episode provided by Dr. David Sigmon! He covers the history of a surgeon who had a successful, but not necessarily legendary, surgical career. So why are we covering Dr. Barry? Because of an astounding secret that was carried to the grave! The revelation was so scandalous, the British military kept it secret for decades. To find out…
 
In this episode, new host and collaborator for the show, Dr. David Sigmon, tells the horrifying tale of the Japanese surgeon Dr. Shiro Ishii and Japan's infamous Unit 731. While his acts were terrible, they were not only tolerated but encouraged at the time. And both the US and USSR failed to properly prosecute him or his unit. It is difficult to h…
 
Despite the title, this episode is about far more than just the first prostatectomy performed for cancer treatment. The life of American urologist Dr. Hugh Hampton Young is covered, as well as a little part of the history of prostate surgery. And as a special bonus, there is a mini-podcast in the podcast, covering a famous surgeon of the Wild West,…
 
In this bonus episode, we welcome a new member to the Legends of Surgery team, Dr. David Simon, a general surgery resident at the University of Chicago currently researching surgical education at the University of Pennsylvania. He wrote this episode, which covers the history of the discovery of the adrenal glands, the efforts made to understand its…
 
In this episode, we cover one of the most influential books in the history of surgery, the 'De Humane Corporis Fabrica', and its author, Andreas Vesalius. In doing so, we'll also explore the outsized influence of the ancient Roman physician Galen on anatomical knowledge, and the challenges Vesalius faced in shaking the yoke of tradition through emp…
 
In this episode, we will explore the life and impact of French surgeon Ambroise Pare, who has been described as "one of the most luminous figures in the dark period of the late sixteenth century in France". A true Renaissance man, so to speak, Pare impacted a wide range of surgical practices. But his most significant impact was felt on the battlefi…
 
There are few surgical interventions more dramatic than the thoracotomy - a desperate last-ditch effort to save a failing heart by manual compression. The history of the procedure is a fascinating one, dating back to the 19th century. This became the procedure of choice when a heart stopped, typically during surgery, but was eventually replaced by …
 
This episode is a bit different than previous, in that the first part is a review of the life and work of the famous cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard, who performed the world's first human heart transplant. The second part is an interview with cardiac surgeon Dr. David K. C. Cooper, who worked with Dr. Barnard, and wrote the definitive biography …
 
In this episode, we'll cover the life of English surgeon Frederick Salmon, his clashes with the medical establishment at the time, and his creation of a fistula hospital that eventually became St. Mark's Hospital. Of course, we will get into a bit of explanation around the history of fistula-in-ano treatment, and deviate from the main story to expl…
 
In this episode, we will cover the German surgeon August Bier, and his creation of both spinal anesthesia, and the eponymously named Bier block, used commonly today for regional anesthesia. We'll also cover some less well known aspects of his career, and touch on his mentor, Johann von Esmarch, known for the Esmarch bandage (and so much more)! Of c…
 
In this episode, we'll cover the life of the 18th century English surgeon, Percivall Pott. This includes some of the numerous disorders named after him, and covers the first description of an association between an occupational exposure and cancer, which would lead to significant social change. And of course, we'll take some detours, including cove…
 
In this episode, we explore the history of Robert Liston, considered "the fastest knife in the west end" of London, in an era before anesthesia. He was also famous for an operation with a 300% mortality rate, and for performing the first operation under ether in Europe. Liston also had many rivals, including a physician that led the charge during t…
 
In this episode, we will follow the history of the treatment of clubfoot, from antiquity, through the Renaissance and into modern surgery. Interestingly, the thinking has swung from conservative treatment, through a number of mechanical solutions, through surgical solutions, and finally come back to a non-invasive approach. As usual, we will meet s…
 
In this episode, we will take a look at some of the unsung heroes of the operating room, going back to some of the earliest surgeries. We'll meet some of the interesting roles that developed, including Handlers, Dressers and Surgical Beadles. From there, we'll trace the development of the modern surgical technologist through the 20th century. And o…
 
In this episode, we will follow the history of the repair of inguinal hernias from ancient times, through the age of dissection, to the Renaissance where we will meet the surgeons that influenced our understanding of the anatomy and pathology of hernias. From there, we will cover the first successful tissue repairs, then move on to the era of mesh …
 
In this episode, we explore the life of the English surgeon, Sir Astley Cooper, as well as some of his most notable accomplishments. Along the way, we'll cover the infamous story of his nephew, Bransby Cooper, which intersects the beginnings of the medical journal The Lancet, and represents one of the first medico-legal trials on record. Some of ou…
 
In this episode, we will explore the introduction of Western style surgery into feudal Japan, during the period of isolation, that lasted from 1639 to 1853. During this time, only a few of the European powers had access to Japan, and for most of that time, it was Holland alone. The Dutch, through trade by the Dutch East Indies Company, held a monop…
 
Patients are often placed in the 'lithotomy' position. But where did this come from? We'll cover the history of the surgical procedure for bladder stones, known as lithotomy, which dates back from the earliest records of surgery right up to the beginnings of modern surgery. A number of different surgical approaches were used, and we'll cover their …
 
In this episode, we'll cover R Adams Cowley, a surgeon who's single-minded determination reinvented how trauma patients are cared for, and essentially created the field of traumatology. Through his tireless efforts, the state of Maryland created a world-renowned centre for understanding and treating shock in trauma patients. He was an interesting c…
 
In this episode, we'll cover the relatively rare but interesting thoracic outlet syndrome, discussing its anatomy and causes, including cervical ribs. Along the way, we'll follow the history of the discovery of the syndrome as well as meet some famous surgeons involved in its treatment. And of course, go off on a few tangents, including the end of …
 
Cochlear implants are an amazing innovation that have had a huge impact on patients. In this episode, we'll cover the history of their development, and highlight the contributions of one surgeon, Dr. William House. As well, we'll discuss some of the controversies behind the implants, and of course, take a few interesting side roads of history.…
 
In this episode, we'll cover the life and times of the surgeon for whom "Metz" are named for, Dr. Myron Firth Metzenbaum. We'll look at his work with radium (including some amazing background history on it), the ambulance service in Cleveland, and of course, his instrument. Dr. Metzenbaum also developed an operation and helped found the American Bo…
 
In this episode, we will cover the brief but fascinating history of that often-overlooked specialty in the development of modern surgery, the railway surgeon. The birth, rise, and eventual demise of this particular area of practice will be explored, looking at the different roles they played, and how they influenced modern trauma surgery. And of co…
 
In this episode, we will cover the history of the appendix, from its first description, to its (recently) described function and cover what happens when things go wrong. This includes the first recorded appendectomy, the first definitive description of appendicitis as a separate entity and some of the early surgeons who pioneered operative treatmen…
 
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