, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 379-387
Date: 29 Sep 2011

Albucasis, a tenth-century scholar, physician and surgeon: His role in the history of plastic and reconstructive surgery

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Abstract

Abu Al-Qasim Khalaf ibn Abbas Al-Zahrawi (936–1013 CE, known to Europe as Albucasis) practised medicine and surgery in Córdova, the capital of Andalusia. He was a great mediaeval surgeon who influenced European surgery until the Renaissance. His magnum opus was an encyclopaedia of 30 treatises entitled Al-Tasreef. It encompassed the entire medical and surgical fields then known and it has been considered the first illustrated scientific text in history. The 30th and most important treatise, On Surgery, is a detailed discourse on surgery. By the late sixteenth century, On Surgery had been published in over 20 editions in many languages and remained a standard surgical manual in Europe for over 500 years. On Surgery was the major source for many European surgical treatises from the Middle Ages until the Renaissance and bridged Western and Eastern surgery. Albucasis’ made significant contributions to plastic surgery. He stated that incisions be marked with ink preoperatively and advocated important principles of surgery: primary closure and debridement and closure and promoted the use of antiseptics in wounds. On Surgery also describes surgical management of ectropion, entropion, trichiasis, symblepharon, nasal and jaw fractures, gynaecomastia, breast cancer, skin cancer, cleft lip, hermaphroditism and hypospadias.