A Surgical Revolution

Surgery in Scotland, 1837-1901

By Peter Jones

Format: Paperback

Presents the story of some pioneers who, during the nineteenth century, transformed the practice of surgery. This book includes vivid descriptions of the patients treated, as well as the charismatic surgeons. It covers a number of sources, stories and anecdotes that are useful for the general reader, historians, medics and scientists.

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

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This is the story of some pioneers who, during the nineteenth century, transformed the practice of surgery. In the earlier years, an operation was a dreadful experience for both patient and surgeon, but by the 1840s the arrival of general anaesthesia offered relief from the agonies of surgery. However, the discomforts and dangers of infection in surgical wounds persisted until the 1860s, when Joseph Lister in Glasgow and Edinburgh began his life's work. He established the Antiseptic Principle which soon led to great advances in surgical practice. To this transformation surgeons in Scotland made outstanding contributions: Lister himself, Alexander Ogston in Aberdeen who discovered the cause of wound sepsis, William Macewen in Glasgow, who revealed previously unrecognised possibilities in orthopaedics and the surgery of the brain, and many others. In the sixty-four years of Queen Victoria's reign, these pioneers laid the foundations of safe, painless surgery. Today, we directly benefit from their dedicated work. "A Surgical Revolution" includes vivid descriptions of the patients treated, as well as the charismatic surgeons themselves.


Drawing on a wealth of sources, its stories and anecdotes will appeal as much to the general reader as to historians, medics and scientists.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 15 Oct 2007
ISBN 9780859766845
Number of Pages 240

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