The Evolution of Surgical Instruments is the first comprehensive work on the subject published in over sixty years and arguably the most important general history of surgical instruments ever published. The only prior work on the subject, C. J. S. Thompson’s The History and Evolution of Surgical Instruments (1942) attempted to cover the entire history in only 113 pages. Elisabeth Bennion’s Antique Medical Instruments (1979) concentrated chiefly upon the aesthetic aspects of medical and surgical instruments to 1870. James Edmonson’s comprehensive history, American Surgical Instruments (1997), focused on instruments manufactured in the United States up to 1900.
xviii, 510 pp. 579 illus., 30 in color. 8 1/2" × 11". Index. Cloth, dust jacket, acid-free paper. ISBN 0-430405-86-2. Norman Surgery Series No. 12.
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"Perhaps Dr. Kirkup’s most useful and welcome contribution lies in his logical approach to the subject of surgical instrumentation. . . . He traces eight primary structural forms and their changes and evolution over time. . . .
"Although instrument form comprised the chief focus of Dr. Kirkup’s work, the development of instrument materials became an equally important interest over the course of this study. As he reveals, the symbiosis between medicine and technology took different forms. On the one hand, advances in technology spawned opportunities for medicine and surgery; new and different materials opened broader vistas to instrument design, as demonstrated by the advent of cast steel in the eighteenth century, hard rubber or ebonite in the mid nineteenth century, and the introduction of stainless-steel alloys around 1912. On the other hand, technical developments outside medicine proper called forth new forms of instrumentation and medical technology in unexpected ways. Advances in weaponry, for example, gave rise to elective amputation and related instrumentation, while industrial accidents promoted the spread of blood transfusion and improved hemostasis. Collectors of surgical instruments and! curators of such collections will undoubtedly be interested in Dr. Kirkup’s analysis of the composition of instrument materials over time. This analysis is based upon his thesis in medical history. Rather than rely solely upon impressionistic generalizations, he devised a quantitative means to analyze instrument materials in different eras. He devised a point system and uses it to assess the composition and distribution of materials in collections. This methodology is applied to artifact collections that he has studied in Britain, on the Continent, and in the United States, and also used to analyze instruments appearing in early surgical treatises and in trade catalogues and other ephemeral literature."
—from the Foreword by James M. Edmonson, Ph.D.About the Author:
John Kirkup M.D., M.A., F.R.C.S., Dip. Hist. Med. studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and St Mary’s Hospital, London, qualifying in 1952. After service in the Royal Navy he worked as an orthopedic surgeon for the Bath Clinical Area, Somerset, introducing ankle joint replacement to the United Kingdom in 1976. Always intrigued by the evolution of surgery from its pre-historic roots, Dr. Kirkup edited facsimiles of Wiseman’s Of Wounds (1676) and Woodall’s Surgions Mate (1617), published A Historical Guide to British Orthopaedic Surgery, and contributed chapters in books on Ambroise Paré, on pain management during surgery, on trepanation, on the battle against infection, on damaged surgeon’s equipment of the Mary Rose shipwreck and on instrumentation generally. He published a wide variety of journal communications including an extended series on surgical instruments and on the history of foot and ankle surgery, and twelve surgical entries in the New Dictionary of National Biography. He has been Hunterian, Vicary, Sydenham and Hamilton Russell Lecturers, was awarded the Sir Arthur Keith Medal of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and has advised widely on museum collections, especially in the UK, Portugal and Australia.
Formerly President of the British Society for Medical History, President of the History Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, Honorary Archivist of the British Orthopaedic Association and Chairman of the Historical Medical Equipment Society, Dr. Kirkup is currently Honorary Curator of the Historical Instrument Collection at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and Lecturer in Surgical History to the Society of Apothecaries, London. He is completing a book on the historical evolution of limb amputation.
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