A critical study of Lister's
work on antiseptic surgery

Toledo-Pereyra LH, Toledo MM.
Am J Surg. 1976 Jun;131(6):736-44


The work of Pasteur on alcoholic and lactic acid fermentation demonstrated that minute organisms (germs) caused these fermentative changes. Lister applied these basic findings in the introduction of his antiseptic system. Its principles were based on the destruction of germs by antiseptics (carbolic acid) to prevent their entering the wound or spreading after surgery. Lister's work on antisepsis was therefore based on the germ theory of disease. The believers of the germ theory defended Lister's theories whereas the nonbelievers of the germ theory created an atmosphere of resistance to Listerism. The work of Koch in 1878 on the etiology of traumatic infective diseases contributed greatly to the acceptance of Lister's antiseptic principles. By the mid 1880s there was a rapid increase in the use of antiseptic technics, soon followed by the introduction of aseptic methods and rapid progress in surgery.
Joseph Lister
James Simpson
Brain microtubules
Obstetric anaesthesia
Molecular mechanisms
'My beloved chloroform'
'The secularisation of pain'
Acetylcholine/nicotinic receptors
Obstetric anaesthesia/John Snow
Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis and bacteriology

and further reading

Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World