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July 5, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(1):13-14. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610270017003

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Since the earliest times, efforts have been made to cure hernia by operation, and these efforts have constantly been renewed and methods have been improved on because of the unreliability of the older methods of retention. Good results were not obtained until the beginning of the antiseptic era, and at the present day the procedures formerly adopted have only a historical interest. For centuries the radical operation was practiced only by strolling laymen, who were known as "hernia cutters" (Bruchschneider). The results were poor; and in the most frequent variety, the inguinal hernia, the ligation of the sac was always accompanied by castration. For this reason the operation fell into disrepute. The craft was considered dishonorable; and in the eighteenth century, when reputable surgeons began to operate for the relief of hernia, the hernia cutters completely disappeared.

The first to apply antiseptics to the surgery of hernia were the English.

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