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World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 29, Issue 10, pp 1343–1347 | Cite as

Treatment of “Hernia” in the Writings of Celsus (First Century AD)

  • Niki S. Papavramidou
  • Helen Christopoulou-AletrasEmail author
Article

Abstract

Descriptions concerning “hernia” can be found from the early historical years, and its treatment was a subject mentioned by numerous physicians of Antiquity, such as Hippocrates and Praxagoras of Kos. Yet, Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a famous doctor and encyclopedist of the first century AD, was among the first to propose surgical treatment and carry it out successfully, according to his accounts. Many physicians attempted to treat several types of “hernia” before him, but more “scientific” information with details and complete descriptions could be found only in Celsus’ work. In his book De Medicina, Celsus described eight types of “hernia”: bronchocele, umbilical hernia, intestinal and omental hernias, hydrocele, varicocele, sarcocele (hernia carnosa), and inguinal hernia. Among them, some retain their ancient nomenclature up to now, although others have acquired gradually different terminology or are not recognized by physicians today as “hernias” (e.g. , bronchocele). For each type of “hernia”, Celsus provided his readers with an extremely detailed, well reasoned description of the execution of surgical procedures accompanied usually with pre- and postoperative instructions. His innovations particularly concerned ligature of the vessels. He recommended that an injured vessel be tied in two places with lint threads and then cut between the ties. Other pre- and postoperative practices, such as sterilization and bandaging of the incised area, were elements that helped in the advances of medicine, and some of them still exist in modern medicine.

Keywords

Inguinal Hernia Varicocele Dermoid Cyst Umbilical Hernia Hydrocele 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgment

We thank Dr.H. Tsoukali-Papadopoulou, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, for information concerning the chemical properties of substances used by Celsus during surgical operations and Emeritus Professor H. Aletras, for medical information and remarks on anatomy and surgery.

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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niki S. Papavramidou
    • 1
  • Helen Christopoulou-Aletras
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.History of Medicine Division, School of MedicineAristotle University of ThessalonikiGreece

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