In this episode, we'll meet the person behind the eponymously named scissors, the American pediatric surgeon Willis J. Potts. We'll cover his contributions to the development of surgery specifically for children, and in particular the operations on the heart that he pioneered. There is also some trivia, and a new feature on etymology, so enjoy!
In this episode, we will cover the recent story of (possibly) the world's first whole eye transplant that occured in May of 2023, as well as the story of a possible previous attempt in 1969, and the aftermath that followed. The show also has a new feature - trivia! And, we will explore the medical origins of the word 'bedlam'. Enjoy!
In this episode, we will explore the history of a nearly 4 millenia old slab of rock which has inscribed on it some of the oldest recorded laws in history, including some that dictated payments for operations, and some severe punishments for malpractice! Along the way, we'll also delve into the world of Babylonian medicine, discover the history of the caduceus, and, as a special bonus, cover a recent Nobel prize which has implications for surgery in an all new suture tale.
In this episode, we will explore the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, as well as the surgeon behind a famous photograph of the beast, Robert Kenneth Wilson, a legend in his own right. And of course, we'll go on our usual tangents and side stories along the way!
In this episode, we will explore the question of the identity of the 19th century serial killer based in the London neighborhood of Whitechapel. Specifically, we will consider the evidence provided by some authors that the notorious killer was a Welsh-born surgeon named Sir John Williams. And of course, there will be a bit of interesting trivia along the way!
In this episode, we will explore the famous 20th century medical illustrator Frank Netter and his magnum opus, the Atlas of Human Anatomy. While this work is his most famous, many people do not realize that Frank Netter was also a doctor, and (briefly) practiced as a surgeon, before spending the majority of his career as a commercial artist. Have a listen to find out more!
In this episode, we will meet the Chamberlen family, French Huguenots and barber surgeons/male midwives that practiced in England in the 16th and 17th centuries CE. They had a special instrument that could safely deliver babies in cases of obstruction, a secret they kept for 2 centuries. To find out more, listen to the podcast!
Initially recognized as a poison in blood sausage by a German country doctor in the 19th century CE, botulinum toxin was isolated and purified during world war II by the American military. It was ophthalmogist Dr. Alan Scott who recognized the clinical utility of the toxin, which now has over 150 different applications!
In this episode, we will trace the history of attempts at transplanting cells, tissues, and organs from animals into humans. From world-famous surgeons to medical charlatans, all manner of people have tried, and all inevitably failed. However, with the rise of genetic editing, there is new hope that xenotransplantation will turn from a dream into reality!
In this episode, we return to a previous series, looking at the history of different organs in the body. The history of our understanding of the spleen, including its function, will be covered, as well as the development of surgery on the spleen. And in another instalment of Suture Tales, we'll meet Quincy Gardner Colton, a medical school dropout, showman, and integral figure in the history of nitrous oxide as an anesthetic.
In this bonus suture tale episode, we cover the life and works of the famous Italian surgeon and anatomist Antonio Scarpa. While many are familiar with him from the eponymously named fascia, his contributions to the science of medicine extend well beyond this. Known as a tyrant in life, a number of anatomical structures were removed after his death, including his head, which can still be seen today! And as an extra bonus, the life of his mentor, Giovanni Morgagni is also explored.
In this episode, we cover the legendary figure of Hua T'o, the best known (and one of the few) surgeons from Ancient China, as well as the state of surgical treatments at the time. The tale of his most famous operation, on the General Guan Yu, is also examined. Finally, the role of culture and religion on the development of anatomical and surgical knowledge in Ancient China is explored.
In this episode, we'll take a look at some of the contributions he made in surgery and anatomy, as well as some of the errors of his that were repeated for centuries before being disproven. We'll also have a look at the history of the first known surgery, trephination (or drilling a hole in the head), the origins of the word 'cancer', and lots more! As well, Suture Tales takes a look at a giant in the history of ENT surgery, Dr. John Conley. And if you stay to the end, there's even some poetry!
In the 100th episode of Legends of Surgery, we will explore the life of one of medicine and surgery's greatest influences: the Greek physician from Ancient Rome, Claudius Galen. The events of his life will be covered, as well as some of the amazing feats he performed. In the second part of this mini-series, Galen's lasting impact on anatomy and surgery will we outlined.
This episode also features a Suture Tale, this time on the surgeon and anatomist Carl Toldt, who described the important surgical landmark we now know as the white line of Toldt!
In this episode, we'll cover the history of transgender medicine, with a focus on the development of the main surgical procedures in gender reassignment surgery, including vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, and metoidioplasty. A number of trailblazing surgeons and patients will be covered, and there is even a suture tale about a strange Victorian practice of clitoridectomy. Listener beware: this episode contains some graphic descriptions of genital surgery.
In this episode, we're going to do something a bit different. I've taken a number of shorter but very interesting topics, either that I've come across on my own or have been suggested by listeners, and turned 5 of them into this episode. There's a medication, a maneuver, a procedure, a person, and a device! And if you have an idea for a topic, please let me know, maybe it will be on the next suture tales!
In this bonus episode, we cover the long and strange history of the bezoar, a stone that forms in the stomachs of some animals (including humans!) We will go back to the earliest recordings of bezoars in medicine, their use as a treatment for poison, particularly in the Islamic medical world, their rise in popularity in Renaissance Europe, and of course, meet a famous surgeon along the way. Please enjoy a little holiday break from the usual fare!
In this episode, we explore the origins of our understanding of blood and its function, going all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. We'll discuss the humeral system championed by Galen, and how these concepts were finally corrected with the discovery of the circulatory system. The consumption of blood, a practice dating back to ancient times, will be covered, as well as the first transfusions into humans, including the first truly successful one by Dr. James Blundell. As always, there will be lots of twists and turns, so enjoy!
This episode was written by a guest contributor, Harvard student Simar Bajaj. In it, we cover some of the anatomy and function of the esophagus, before tracing the history of the earliest attempts at operating on the esophagus (in ancient Egypt!) up to the modern era. We'll meet a number of surgical legends, and explore some related and fun topics, like answering the question, 'can you burp in space'?
In this episode, we will cover the story of providing fluids and nutrients intravenously, leading up to Dr. Stanley Dudrick and the development of TPN (total parenteral nutrition), including the first patients to receive this groundbreaking therapy. As usual, we will explore a few related topics, including some of the earliest experiments with radioactive materials, and much more!
The subject for this episode, written and narrated by Dr. David Sigmon, is the great medieval surgeon Guy de Chauliac. His life and works are covered, including the 'Chirurgia Magna', or 'Great Writings on Surgery', but the main focus is his role in fighting the Black Death in Avignon, France, in 1342, and the lessons he learned about the plague that devastated much of Western civilization.
This episode was written by a guest contributor, Simar Bajaj, a student of the History of Science at Harvard University. In it, we cover the story of the mitral valve, from its earliest descriptions, to the discovery of its function and pathology, and of course, the evolution of the surgical treatment of both stenosis and regurgitation. In addition to meeting the surgeon innovators, we will of course take some detours, looking at how percussion became a part of the physical exam, reviewing the origins of the term hyperkalemia, cover some surgical rivalries, and lots more!
This episode was written by a guest contributor, Dr. David Warmflash, and covers the history of the use of induced hypothermia in surgery, from its earliest days in Ancient Egypt, through Napoleon-era France, and to the early days of cardiac surgery! We will also explore a more modern application in the setting of trauma, and of course, take a few detours along the way.
In this episode, we'll cover the brilliant but difficult character of Guillaume Dupuytren, and of course the disease which bears his name. In addition to his life, we'll take a deep dive into the history of Dupuytren's disease, also known as the Viking's disease, the curse of the MacCrimmons, and the Hand of Benediction, among others. There are lots of side stories, too, including a bit of history of the bagpipes!
And 'Suture Tales' makes a return for the 50th anniversary of the Swan-Ganz catheter!