It is well recognized that tremendous contributions to the development of vascular surgery were made prior to World War I. Many, if not most, of our present-day concepts and techniques are based on experimental and clinical advances made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In spite of this early, dramatic increase in the knowledge of vascular anastomotic techniques, arterial grafts, the banking of arteries, organ grafts, and cell culture, interest in clinical application seemed almost completely lacking until after the end of World War II.
Why this quantum jump in the knowledge of vascular surgery and transplantation remained quiescent for approximately a half century remains obscure. It is the purpose of this article to review the extensive contributions of early investigators and to attempt to gain insight into the factors responsible for the 50-year delay in the clinical application of this substantial early vascular surgical legacy.
Nabseth DC. Giants Before Their TimePresidential Address. Arch Surg. 1987;122(8):867-870. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400200017001