Surgery (Encyclopedia of Science)
Surgery is the treatment of disease or injury by cutting into the body to repair or remove the injured or diseased body part. Surgery is usually performed by surgeons in the operating room of a hospital or clinic.
Surgery has been performed since ancient times. The earliest surgical operations were circumcision (removal of the foreskin of the penis) and trepanation (cutting a hole in the skull for the release of pressure or "demons"). Stone Age skulls bearing holes from trepanning have been found around the world. The ancient Egyptians practiced surgery as early as 2500 B.C. using sharp instruments made of copper. The ancient Hindus of India excelled at surgery, performing tonsillectomies, plastic surgery, and removal of bladder stones and cataracts (a clouding of the lens of the eye). The Greeks and Romans used a variety of instruments, including forceps, knives, probes, and scalpels, to operate on wounds and amputate limbs.
During the Middle Ages (400450), medical knowledge slowed, and those performing operations, called barber-surgeons, often possessed little education or skill. Without knowledge of antisepsis (techniques to prevent infection), surgery was extremely risky and often resulted in complications or death of the patient.
After the Middle Ages, efforts were made to elevate the status of...
(The entire section is 825 words.)
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