Archeological studies reveal that humans splinted fractures and operated on skulls. Other than dealing with wounds or fractures, early surgeons carried out three types of operative procedures – circumcision, trephination and lithotomy. The first two procedures are the most ancient, for it is hypothesised they were undertaken between 10 000 and 15 000 years ago. Circumcision was a religious, fertility or initiation rite or ritual and trephination was done for mystical as well as therapeutic purposes. In contrast, lithotomy commenced much later, between the 4th and 5th centuries BCE and therefore did not occur prehistorically. However, it is the first operation that was performed to relieve a specific surgical condition.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Included in

Surgery Commons