From time immemorial, surgery and surgeons have been concerned predominantly with the practical application of acquired knowledge and skill. Because surgery has developed primarily as an art, surgical literature from the earliest eras has recorded innumerable variants of two fundamental themes—amputation and drainage. A new hemostatic, a new approach, a modified technic to facilitate removal of an organ or evacuation of pathologic material—each serves today as it has in the past to adorn the page and dignify the rostrum.
Moreover, the surgeon, however great his respect for tradition, has been preeminently an individualist, often showing complete disregard for the immediately previous technical schools; and it is perhaps for this reason that, in general, surgical procedures present a somewhat rhythmic reiteration of previous stages of opinion sufficient to suggest that currently fashionable cycles occur here as they do in more mundane fields.
The present-day proctologist excises a fistulous tract whereas two
ROSSER C. CURRENT QUESTIONS IN PROCTOLOGY: CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. JAMA. 1933;101(14):1043–1047. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740390001001
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