Today the surgeon in almost every instance can assure the patient with inguinal hernia that he will be cured. Yet less than six decades ago such assurance was the exception rather than the rule. Up to that time treatment of this ancient affliction had been principally palliative.1 In the earliest times bandages were applied to retain reducible hernias. Later the truss was introduced and throughout the centuries of its use underwent numerous modifications. Poultices and plasters of various astringent and tonic substances were long popular. Frequently a red hot cautery, varying in size and shape with the individual patient, was applied to the skin over the area of protrusion, which had previously been outlined with ink. Caustic agents were similarly employed. The object of both the cautery and the caustics appears to have been to destroy the tissues and thus to produce granulation firm enough to prevent recurrence of
JOYCE TM. FASCIAL REPAIR OF INGUINAL HERNIAS: REPORT OF 760 OPERATIONS FROM JANUARY 1934 TO JANUARY 1939. JAMA. 1940;115(12):971–977. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810380001001
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