Medieval and Renaissance Surgery and Anatomy

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Medieval Surgery and Anatomy

  • Comparable to the surgical skill held amongst Greek and Roman surgeons, there wasn't a great deal of development throughout the Medieval era. In continuity, surgeons could still remove exterior tumours or teeth, mend broken limbs or cauterise wounds (a process which involved sealing wounds with a hot iron).
  • One of the primary sources of surgical knowledge, at this time, was experience. Practising techniques in the treatment of patients and watching fellow surgeons as they carried out procedures proved beneficial in the development of knowledge.
  • War gave surgeons exposure to a wide range of wounds; and thus they became confident in treating them, even if they could not carry out deep interior surgery. Such wounds were often gaping and unfathomable; meaning that they could enrich anatomical knowledge. 
  • Books came into publication and allowed the more efficient spread of ideas. Robert of Salerno published the first European surgical textbook in the twelfth century; whilst Guy de Chauliac's 'Great Surgery'


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