The Early Surgeon-Anatomists

  • John M. Howard
  • Walter Hess


“The ancient Egyptians already knew…” — such is the frequent introduction to a historical work. This is not true for the pancreas, however. While the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians developed medicine to an astonishing degree and were knowledgeable about many anatomical structures, they failed to identify the pancreas. As pointed out by the Yale University pathologist Fitzgerald,(1) the pancreas was generally unknown in antiquity, both as an organ and as a seat of disease: “The organ probably did not attract the attention of the ancient priestly divinators (the ancestors of the pathologists), searching in animal entrails for portents, as readily as did a large abdominal organ as the liver.”


Bile Duct Common Bile Duct Pancreatic Duct Pancreatic Fistula Pancreatic Juice 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Howard
    • 1
  • Walter Hess
    • 2
  1. 1.Emeritus Medical College of OhioToledoUSA
  2. 2.University of BaselSwitzerland

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