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The first step made toward the surgery of the sympathetic nervous system was by Claude Bernard in 1851, when he observed that section of the cervical sympathetic caused vasodilatation of the vessels of the ear of a rabbit, and that stimulation of the distal cut ends of the nerves caused blanching. Thus were discovered the vasomotor nerves.
Though the present development of the surgery of the sympathetic is due largely to the work of French surgeons, it is recorded that John Hunter did a decortication of a dog's carotid in an effort to produce an aneurysm. That is the first recorded periarterial sympathectomy.
Lord Lister in 1858 performed an experiment which proved that the nerves to the blood vessels of the lower limbs run in or on the vessel when he severed all the soft parts in the leg of a dog and observed that there was no paralysis of
McCLINTIC CF. TREATMENT OF TROPHIC ULCERS BY ALCOHOLIC INJECTION OF THE BLOOD VESSELSPRELIMINARY REPORT. JAMA. 1929;92(12):956–958. doi:10.1001/jama.1929.02700380014004