A History of Limb Amputation

  • John Kirkup

About this book


A History of Limb Amputation traces humanity’s long experience of natural amputations due to congenital absence, disease, frostbite, toxins, domestic and wild animal trauma, and for non-medical reasons related to punitive, ritual, and legal actions, ultimately leading to the development of elective surgical amputation.

While the evolution of surgical techniques forms a major chapter in the book, many ancillary problems are addressed including the control of hemorrhage and infection, the approach to pain relief, the development of suitable instruments and equipment, and the invention of prostheses, all suitably illuminated with case histories and relevant illustrations. In addition, alternative procedures designed to avoid amputation, increasingly important in the last two centuries, are debated, and factors associated with self-amputation in extremis, not rare according to press reports, are also examined. A separate chapter considers the philosophy and interpretations of society, patients, and surgeons faced with amputation, particularly before anesthesia.

The book will be of interest to medical and social historians, surgeons, and nurses undertaking amputations, limb-fitting surgeons and prosthetists, limb manufacturers, and amputees themselves.


Amputation History amputee infection limb fitting limb loss prosthetics rehabilitation trauma

Authors and affiliations

  • John Kirkup
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Bath Clinical AreaUK
  2. 2.Historical Instrument CollectionRoyal College of Surgeons of EnglandLondonUK
  3. 3.Society of ApothecariesLondonUK

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Health & Hospitals
Surgery & Anesthesiology