History of injections. Pictures from the history of otorhinolaryngology highlighted by exhibits of the German History of Medicine Museum in Ingolstadt
by
Feldmann H. HNO-Klinik, Universitat Munster.
Laryngorhinootologie. 2000 Apr;79(4):239-46


ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Injections are part of the arsenal of all medical disciplines. In addition to this common ground, each specialty has its own particular aspects; the historical development of these are presented here with respect to otorhinolaryngology. INTRAVENOUS INJECTIONS: The first experiments with intravenous injections were carried out in 1642 by a gentleman's hunting servant in eastern Germany. Similar experiments were done in 1656 by Christopher Wren, the astronomer, mathematician, and architect in Oxford, England, and a group of scientists around the physicist Robert Boyle. These experiments were prompted by new knowledge about blood circulation provided by William Harvey in 1628. The first books on the applications of intravenous infusions in humans were published in Germany by Major 1664 (Chirurgia Infusoria) and Elsholtz 1667 (Clysmatica Nova). Bladders of animals or enema syringes were used as instruments. Because of lethal accidents the infusions soon fell from favour. Kohler in Germany in 1776 eliminated a large bolus impacted in a patient's esophagus by an intravenous infusion of tartar emetic thus inducing violent vomiting. After this crucial experiment, foreign bodies in the esophagus were the most important indication for applying intravenous injections until Killian introduced extraction by esophagoscopy in 1990. CALIBRATED SYRINGES AFTER PRAVAZ: The French surgeon C. Pravaz in Lyon in 1853 invented a small syringe, the piston of which could be driven by a screw thus allowing exact dosage. A sharp needle with a pointed trocar could be introduced into the vessel making a dissection unnessessary. Pravaz used his syringe for obliteration of arterial aneurysms by injection of ferric sesquichlorate. Pravaz's syringe initiated the invention of a great number of various calibrated syringes made of glass or metal combined with glass. SUBCUTANEOUS INJECTION AND LOCAL ANAESTHESIA: The calibrated syringes were commonly used in the treatment of syphilis by mercurialization. In otorhinolaryngology, they had and still have their primary application in local anaesthesia, which was introduced by Carl Ludwig Schleich in Berlin in 1892. PARAFFIN-INJECTIONS: Around 1900 the injection of liquid paraffin for closing defects in subcutaneous tissues came into use (Gersuny in Vienna, Delangre in Tournai). This technique was immediately applied to rhinological indications such as a saddle nose (Stein 1901). This gave rise to the invention of special syringes and modifications of paraffin with different hardness and melting points. Around the middle of this century, paraffin was abandoned for this application because of serious complications, and new substances were introduced such like teflon, silicone and collagen. The historical development of these techniques of injections is described in details with many literature citations and figures.
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