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Legends of Surgery

Legends of Surgery is a podcast that tells the stories of the people and events that make up the history of modern surgery, told in an informal, entertaining and educational manner.
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Legends of Surgery
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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 16, 2017

In this episode, we will explore the history of the development of the microscope and discuss its use in the operating room. From the very first use, to the pioneers that experimented on attaching tiny blood vessels, to modern uses, including the history of hand and face transplants will be covered!

Dec 1, 2017

In this episode, we'll cover the surgeon often referred to as the father of paediatric surgery, Dr. William Edwards Ladd. He has a famous connection to the Halifax Explosion, a tragic accident that occurred almost exactly 100 years ago. We'll explore that connection, and cover Ladd's work in developing the field of paediatric surgery, as well as review the eponymously named Ladd's bands and Ladd's procedure.

Nov 17, 2017

In this episode, we will cover the pancreatic surgery commonly known as the Whipple procedure and learn about the life and works of Dr. Allen Oldfather Whipple, the first to successfully attempt the procedure as a single-step operation. As well, we'll describe Whipple's triad, and as always, cover some other interesting medical trivia.

Nov 4, 2017

This episode will cover the long history of the development of the surgical stapler, an instrument not often considered in surgical history. Our journey will take us from ancient Rome, to medieval Spain, Hungary, the Soviet Union and finally the US. During our exploration, we will discuss the career of surgeon Dr. Mark Ravitch, the person most responsible for bringing stapling technology out of Russia and introducing it to Western surgical practice.

Oct 20, 2017

In this episode, we'll take a bit of a different approach to the history of surgery, and look at some of the insects and other creepy crawlers that have been used to assist in treating patients. We'll cover the use of leeches and maggots in surgery, both in ancient times and in modern practice, as well as some other less well known creatures that have been utilized in fascinating ways. Lots of interesting material to cover!

Oct 6, 2017

In this episode, we'll trace the ancient history of cataract treatments, leading to the modern revolutionary invention of the intraocular lens implant. As well, the story of Sir Harold Ridley and his inspiration for inventing this implant will be told, including the connection to WWII royal air force fighter pilots. 

Correction: In the podcast, the date given for joining the Royal Army Medical Corps was erroneously given as 1931. It was, in fact, 1941.

Oct 4, 2017

To celebrate the 50th episode of Legends of Surgery, this podcast will cover the historical connection between barbers and surgeons, and explore the reasons why, as well as discuss some of the enduring symbols of this relationship.

Sep 22, 2017

In this episode, we will explore the history of the surgeon considered to be the father of modern gynaecology. We'll look at his life and works, with the focus on his most recognized achievement, the development of a procedure to correct vesicovaginal fistulas. The controversy of his experimental surgery on slave women in the pre-Civil War south of the United States will be covered, and we'll take a look at some of the arguments both for and against his actions. 

Sep 8, 2017

In this, the 50th episode, we will cover the life and works of one of the most well known legends of surgery, John Hunter. His early life working at his brother William's anatomy school, his time in the military and rise to prominence will be discussed. Of course, there will be some interesting lesser known stories about him, and a few relevant tangents, including some background on bodysnatchers in 18th century London!

Aug 25, 2017

In this episode, we'll cover the story of Will and Charlie Mayo, the brothers that founded what is now known as the Mayo Clinic, a global leader in surgical health care. Their origins will be covered, including the natural disaster that led to the establishment of their practice in Rochester, Minnesota. As well, we'll take a look at how they practiced, and review how their example of collaboration, dedication to patients and humility led to their success.

Jul 28, 2017

In this episode, we'll cover the development of the anti-reflux surgery known as the Nissen fundoplication. But there's so much more! The life of Dr. Rudolf Nissen is a fascinating one, and we'll cover his story, including his involvement with one of the most famous scientists of the 20th century, Albert Einstein.

Jul 14, 2017

In this episode, we'll cover the life of Baron Dominique Jean Larrey, the surgeon in chief to Napoleon's Grand Army. He created the "flying ambulance" to rapidly evacuate soldiers from the field of battle, and is credited with developing the concept of triage. Larrey was also known for his humanitarian treatment of both his own soldiers and those of the enemy, which would actually save his life. Find out how in this episode!

Jun 30, 2017

In this episode, we'll cover the life of the New Zealand born plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe and cover his pioneering work treating the members of the Royal Air Force that had been badly burned during the second World War. His patients found camaraderie in their mutual experience, so much so that they formed a group known as the Guinea Pig Club, which continued for 6 decades! Have a listen to this amazing story. 

Jun 16, 2017

In this episode, we will discuss the impact of the physicians in the Arabic-Muslim Empire during a period sometimes referred to as the "Islamic Golden Age". In particular, the famous surgeon Al-Zahrawi will be covered, including his great work, the "Tasrif". We will cover the controversy over the extent of his contributions, and get into some details of his life and work.

Jun 3, 2017

In this episode, we'll cover the life of Dr. George Washington Crile, and American surgeon probably best known for the instruments that bear his name. We'll talk about his influential work on surgical shock, thyroid surgery and radical neck dissection as well as discuss his role in the founding of the Cleveland Clinic. There are also some interesting historical tidbits, including his role in the creation of the G-suit for pilots in World War 2!

May 19, 2017

In this second episode on Dr. Harvey Cushing, we will cover his career, starting at Johns Hopkins, his move to the Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and experiences during World War I. His work on the pituitary gland and intracranial tumours is covered, and we'll look at his lasting legacy. 

May 5, 2017

In this first of two episodes on the titan of neurosurgery, we'll look at his beginnings including his early life, medical school and training, as well as his influential trip to Europe. We'll also cover some of his early impacts on neurosurgery, and of course, take a few side trips of discovery.

Apr 21, 2017

In this episode, we trace the ancient history of the rhinoplasty, or nose repair, through ancient Egypt and India to Renaissance Europe and on to modern times. Along the way we'll meet some famous surgeons and learn about their contributions, as well as take a detour to find out about syphilis! 

Apr 7, 2017

In this episode, we'll learn about the gastrointestinal surgery known as the Roux-en-Y procedure, and learn about the surgeon for whom it's named, Dr. Cesar Roux. As many people know this procedure from its use in weight loss operations, we will also take a brief look at the history of bariatric surgery and meet some of the early pioneers, as well as learn a little bit about a few of the different types of procedures.

Mar 24, 2017

In this episode, we will cover the life and work of Dr. Theodor Billroth, one of the great 19th century surgeons. He not only invented the famous Billroth gastric surgeries, but also was an innovator in surgical education and research. In addition, we will briefly cover his mentor Dr. Berhnard von Langenbeck, and more!

Mar 10, 2017

In this episode, we will track the history of women in medicine and surgery from antiquity through to modern times, taking a closer look at a few extraordinary women. From the civil war, through the suffrage movement to world war I and beyond, we will learn more about the struggle that these early pioneers went through!

Feb 24, 2017

In this episode, we will take a look at the history of African Americans in surgery. We'll cover some of the first black surgeons during the Civil War, and how the war led to the development of Freedmen's Hospital. Dr. Daniel Hale Williams and what is thought to be the first known successful surgery on the heart will be reviewed. Finally, Dr. Charles Drew's life and works will be covered. And much more!

Feb 10, 2017

In this episode, we'll cover the story of hypothermia in surgery, led by the surgeon Dr. Bill Bigelow. His experiments with animals, including groundhogs, trying to unlock the mysteries of hibernation, will also be covered. Finally, we'll learn the origins of Groundhog Day!

Jan 27, 2017

In this episode, we will follow the life story of Dr. William Halsted, from his origins in New York, to his drug addiction to cocaine and morphine, and his becoming one of the founding fathers of Johns Hopkins Medicine. We will cover not only his individual exploits in surgery, but also his vast influence on the turning of surgery in America from an unorganized almost self-taught job to a true profession, changing the way surgery is done and taught almost single-handedly. And of course, we'll take a few side roads, looking at the history of Johns Hopkins and cocaine, and more!

Jan 13, 2017

In this episode, we shift gears a bit to look at a future area of surgery, and consider what it would be like to operate in space. We will consider a number of factors that will effect operating, and look at how some of the solutions that have been created have also had positive spin off applications for the terrestrially bound. Join me as we take a peek at the final frontier!

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