The Commission on the History of Science and Technology in Islamic Societies Barcelona University (A Shared Legacy: Islamic Science East and West) Barcelona - Spain 11-14 April 2007 Abdul Nasser Kaadan, MD, Ph D * Chairman, History of Medicine Department
The Commission on the History of Science and Technology in Islamic Societies
(A Shared Legacy: Islamic Science East and West)
Barcelona - Spain
11-14 April 2007
Abdul Nasser Kaadan, MD, Ph D
* Chairman, History ofMedicine Department
AleppoUniversity, Aleppo - SyriaThe President ofISHIM (www.ishim.net(P.O. Box: 7581, Aleppo, SyriaE-mail: [email protected] 963944 300030, Fax 963 21 2236526
The Achievements of Albucasis in Neurosurgery
The concept that medicine is exclusively the products of Western minds, remains unquestioned by most individuals.
Most texts give little or no mention of the advancements made by ancient Indian, Chinese or, particularly, Arab and Muslim physicians.
The unavoidable conclusion is that major contributions to the development of the modern medicine by other cultures is minimal or nothing.
Albucasi is believed to have been born in the city of Al-Zahra, six miles northwest of Cordoba, sometime between the year 936 and 940.
It was here that he lived, studied, taught and practiced medicine and surgery until shortly before his death in about 1013, two years after the sacking of Al-Zahra.
Because Al-Zahra was build and destroyed, little is known about its celebrated son Albucasis.
Albucasis wrote a medical encyclopaedia spanning 30 treatises which included sections on surgery, medicine, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, pharmacology, nutrition etc.
This book was known as At-Tasrif and contained data that Albucasis had accumulated during a career that spanned almost 50 years of training, teaching and practice.
The title of the book can be translated as:
The book of enabling him to manage who cannot cope with the compilations.
The last treatise of this book, which is related to surgery, is the most famous and important.
This treatise was translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in the second half of the twelfth century.
In France there is a Hebraic translation with surgical instruments schemes.
The first edition of al-Zahrawi book was in Venice in 1497, then more than twenty editions appeared in many different European cities.
In the fifteenth century a Turkish translation was made by Sharaf al-Din ibn Ali al-Hajj Ilyas.
The first modern edition with a Latin translation appeared at Oxford in 1778 by John Channing.
French translation in Paris in 1861.
Arabic edition in 1908 in Lucknow.
English translation in 1973 by Spink and Lewis.
Lastly Russian translation by Zea Uddin Bavlove.
In the first chapter he talked on the cure of Hydrocephalus.
He differentiated between two types:
1- The humidity collects between the skin and the bone.
2- The humidity collects beneath the bone and over the membrane.
When the humidity is between the skin and the bone and the swelling is small, an incision should be made in the middle of the head, transversely.
The length of the incision should be about two thumb-joints, so that the humidity may flow out. This is the form of the scalpel.
If the humidity is more copious and the swelling greater, make two intersecting incisions.
But if the humidity is beneath the bone -and the signs of that is that you will see the sutures of the skull gaping on all sides, the water manifestly yielding when you press in with your fingers-
You should make three incisions in the middle of the head, in this pattern. After incising, draw out all the humidity.
Chapter on the extraction of the temporal arteries.
Albucasis is mentioning to three methods for stopping Haemorrhage:
1- By ligation.
2- By cauterization.
3- By compressing the artery.
Fracture occurring in the head
He differentiated between different types of fractures: avulsion, crushing, penetrating reaching the membrane or superficial, hairline fracture.
He described in detail how to remove the depression fracture.
When a fracture occurs in neck, and you want to know whether it will heal or not.
If you see both his hands relaxed and numb and he has no power to move or stretch or close them, and there is no sensation, you may know, as a general rule that it will not mend and the patient will die.
But if he moves them both and feels in them the pinching, you may know that the spinal cord is still intact and that under treatment the patient will recover.
If anything of this happens to the back vertebrae and you wish to know if he will recover or not.
pay attention to his feet. If you see them relaxed and he passes faeces and urine involuntarily, then you know his case is hopeless. But if nothing of this kind occur then the case is easier.
If the injury is accompanied by fragmentation or a separation of part of the bone, you must cut down on it, and remove the bone then bring together the edges of the opening by suture it.
If dislocation was in the first cervical vertebrae, death is inevitable because of respiratory failure, due to injury of the responsible nerve.
If dislocation was in back vertebra and was forward, the cord will be compressed and his limbs will relax.
Albucasis mentioned to what is called now Trendelenburg Position
Which described by German Surgeon Freidrich Trendelenburg (1844-1924).
Albucasis was the first medical author to provide illustrations of instruments used in surgery.
There are approximately 200 such drawings ranging from a tongue depressor and a tooth extractor to a catheter and an elaborate obstetric device.
Albucasis talked on the different types of Hydrocephalus and the methods of the surgical treatment.
Albucasis described the exposure and division of the temporal artery to relieve certain types of headaches, so he advised for stopping hemorrhage, by using ligation of the vessels before Ambroise Pare in 1552.
Albucasis described in detail how to remove the depression fracture of the skull.
In vertebral fractures, if the injury is accompanied by fragmentation or a separation of part of the bone, Albucasis advices to cut down on it, and to remove the bone then to bring together the edges of the opening by suture it.
The prince of Surgery
during the Medieval Ages