History - Surgery Through Time (Anesthetics)

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Surgery through time


  • No anesthetics until the 19th century
  • Before anesthetics doctors gave their patients alcohol to make them less aware of pain
  • Doctors avoided operation due to pain and blood loss
  • The most common surgery in the 19th century was amputation

Nitrous Oxide

The first suggested anesthetic was nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Humprey Davy discovered that it made you less aware of pain. It was first used as a dental anesthetic by Horace Wells.

  • However, laughing gas wasn't that successful because it didn't work on everyone



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