Twentieth Century Surgery and Anatomy - War and Science/Technology

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  • X-Rays - In 1895, German scientist William Rontgen discovered the x-ray; and, within just months, the according machines were widely in use throughout hospitals. They were a highly beneficial innovation in allowing surgeons and doctors to examine broken bones or identify infections without need to make incisions, which saved time and risk of implication. Marie and Pierre Curie's research on x-rays in the 1890s allowed them to outline that the material being handled burned their hands; and so this was to form the basis of contemporary cancer diagnosis, treatment and radiotherapy. It was during the First World War that x-rays came into particularly great demand. Hence, the government ordered the mass production of x-ray machines for installation within military hospitals; whilst portable versions were developed for use on the frontline. 
  • Skin Grafting - During World War I, Sir Harold Gillies pioneered skin grafting; and, by the end of this war, over 11,000 skin grafts had been performed. It was Gillies' cousin, Archibald McIndoe, that made important improvements during the Second World War - as he created replacement skin for the hands and faces of RAF soldiers badly burned in plane crashes. 
  • The First World War was what motivated the US government to provide Howard Florey with $80 million funding to support him in


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