Frederic S. Dennis,1 professor of surgery in Bellevue Hospital Medical School, in 1887, during a clinical lecture on the general principles involved in amputation, quoted the late Sir William Fergussen as saying, "Amputation is one of the meanest and yet one of the greatest operations in surgery"—"mean" when resorted to if better may be done and "great" if the only step to give comfort and prolong life.
Probably the earliest amputations done on man precede all available records. However, it is recorded that Hippocrates, 400 years before the Christian era, practiced amputation of gangrenous legs by cutting through the upper portion of the area of gangrene with a chisel and mallet or shears, not entering the sound tissue above the area.
This practice continued until the reign of Augustus Caesar at about the beginning of the Christian era, at which time Celsus was the first to practice circular no
SMITH BC. AMPUTATION THROUGH LOWER THIRD OF LEG FOR DIABETIC AND ARTERIOSCLEROTIC GANGRENE. Arch Surg. 1933;27(2):267-295. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1933.01170080043003