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Pediatric vesicolithotomy from ancient India to Greece, Arabia and the western world

  • John G. RaffenspergerEmail author
  • V. Raveenthiran
Original Article
  • 25 Downloads

Abstract

Surgeons removed bladder stones by perineal lithotomy in ancient times. The first surgeon who dared to invade a body cavity knew human anatomy and was skilled in the use of surgical instruments. The operation probably originated in India since the Sushruta Samhita, a surgical text, antedates Hippocrates by several hundred years. Sushruta’s knowledge of bladder of stones, surgical complications and instrumentation identifies him as originator of vesicolithotomy. Why did Hippocrates advise his students to leave operations for bladder stones to practitioners who were skilled in the art? Who were these practitioners and how did knowledge of vesicolithotomy reach Greece from India? Our research suggests that the operation came to Greece from India over ancient trade routes and with surgeons who accompanied Alexander the Great’s army. The Sushruta Samhita was translated in Arabic and may have reached Europe during the dark ages by way of Arabian surgeons such as Albucasis. Chelseldon, an eighteenth century English surgeon, brought Sushruta’s vesicolithotomy to a peak of perfection.

Keywords

Sushruta (900-600 BC) Hippocrates (460-370 BC) Alexander the Great (357-323 BC) Ammonius Lithotomus (circa 200 BC) Celsus (25 BC-50 AD) Albucasis (936-1013 AD) William Cheseldon (1688-1752 AD) Vesicolithotomy History of Medicine 

Notes

Author contributions

JGR conceived the project and wrote the first draft. VR critically revised the manuscript and added references. Both authors approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts or commercial interest

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Children’s Memorial HospitalChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  3. 3.SRM Medical CollegeChennaiIndia

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