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Surgery in the Nineteenth Century PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Surgery in the Nineteenth Century. The development of Modern Surgical techniques: an overview. Surgery in 1800. Surgery in the early 19 th Century was very dangerous. Patients were at risk of dying from: Pain Infection Blood Loss. Pain: Early improvements.

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Surgery in the Nineteenth Century

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Surgery in the Nineteenth Century

The development of Modern Surgical techniques: an overview.

Surgery in 1800

  • Surgery in the early 19th Century was very dangerous. Patients were at risk of dying from:

  • Pain

  • Infection

  • Blood Loss

Pain: Early improvements

  • Humphrey Davy experimented with Laughing gas as a painkiller.

  • Ether was successfully used by Robert Liston in 1846.

  • James Simpson then used Chloroform, most famously on Queen Victoria.

Problems with painkillers

Nitrous Oxide, Ether and Chloroform were all opposed by large numbers of surgeons.


The problems with painkillers

  • Nitrous Oxide is actually laughing gas!

  • It wasn’t very effective, at one demonstration the patient moaned in pain – and the demonstrator was booed off.

The problems with painkillers

  • Ether is a rather unstable drug which had the rather unfortunate side effect of killing several patients!

The problems with painkillers

  • Chloroform was not universally successful, there were a number of deaths caused by it.

  • Many surgeons were now weary of the different anaesthetics – none of which had yet been proven.

Queen Victoria’s use of chloroform during childbirth helped to make it more widely accepted.

Fighting pain: a success?

  • The use of anaesthetics such as Chloroform reduced the amount of pain that patients suffered.

  • Patients and surgeons were more confident that the operation would be painless.

  • Errors in the application of anaesthetics led to scepticism.

  • Some forms of anaesthetic had nasty side effects.

In 1800 the cause of disease was not fully understood.

As a result operating theatres were not as clean as they could be.

Pasteur’s GERM THEORY changed all that!

The problem of Infection

Early operations were not conducted in Conditions

Fighting Infection

  • Joseph Lister realised that germs in the theatre had to be destroyed.

  • He used carbolic acid to kill germs, having seen it used in sewers.

  • Carbolic Acid was the first ANTISEPTIC.

Lister performing surgery.

Fighting Infection

  • In 1878 Robert Koch discovered that bacteria caused septicaemia.

  • He also discovered that hot steam killed more germs than carbolic acid.

  • He introduced ASEPTIC surgery as a result.

  • The Aseptic method is applied to all equipment in the theatre, creating a ‘germ free’ environment.

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