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February 1939


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery of the De Courcy Clinic.

Arch Surg. 1939;38(2):287-294. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1939.01200080099008

The popularity of spinal anesthesia has undergone various accessions and regressions since its discovery by Corning in 1888. In the hands of such master surgeons as Matas, who was the first in this country to perform an operation employing it, spinal anesthesia proved satisfactory; but for others less experienced and resourceful, it gave unsatisfactory results.

During the second decade of the present century interest in the production of anesthesia by regional injections seems largely to have died out, and the advent of the World War put a temporary embargo on such physiologic experimentation as might have provided better and safer means of administering it. A full decade after the war ended, however, Pitkin brought forward his "controllable" spinal anesthesia, a method which was almost immediately to revolutionize the previous conceptions of the hazards and inconveniences of this particular form of surgical analgesia.

Briefly, the drawbacks had always been (1) a

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