Andreas Vesalius and surgery
Van Hee R.
Department Geneeskunde Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen.
Verh K Acad Geneeskd Belg. 1993;55(6):515-32.
ABSTRACTBy publishing De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem in 1543, Andries van Wesel (1514-1564) gave surgical science an immense impulse. The revolutionary renovation in the knowledge of man's anatomical structure changed slowly and progressively into topographical and physiological understanding of surgical diseases. At the same time, this made better aimed and more secure operations possible. Apart from the importance of this anatomical publication, Andreas Vesalius also won his spurs as a surgeon. He taught surgery in Padua for many years. He was appointed court physician and surgeon at the Habsburg Court of Charles V and Philip II. He personally performed lots of operations known at the time as major ones. He not only quickly adopted the surgical innovations of his fellow-surgeon Ambroise Pare, but he even performed operations that had been forgotten during several centuries, among which thoracocentesis for pleural empyema. His clinical perspicacity in discovering the indication for some operations was staggering and was appreciated by all great monarchs of Europe in the 16th century. In his several consilia, numerous pieces of advice were given for the treatment of surgical patients. The surgical practice which Vesalius had in Brussels for many years, consequently became most successful. Many publications by Vesalius about surgery and blood-letting are well-known. His Chirurgia magna in septem Libros digesta still remains controversial; these books were published by Prospero Borgarruccio (1560) in 1568 by the Venetian editor Valgrisi. This book gives an excellent survey of surgical pathology as it was taught and treated in the 16th century. The scientific method that Vesalius used, not only in his anatomical studies but also in his surgical practice, deserves not only our full appraisal but should still be studied in our own time.People
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