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November 7, 1959


Author Affiliations

Brooklyn, N. Y.

From the Department of Surgery, Division of Proctology, the Brooklyn Hospital, and the Department of Surgery, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine.

JAMA. 1959;171(10):1309-1311. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010280033008

There is evidence that proctology was practiced in ancient times and existed even then as a specialty. Nevertheless a proctologist should be a physician first and a specialist second. There are many conditions, such as pruritus ani and hemorrhoids, that should not be treated locally until there has been a general search for causative factors. Conversely there are many conditions that should not be treated systemically until the physical examination has included a proctologic survey for the diagnostic information it may yield. Specialties rise as their need arises and fall for lack of usefulness. Proctology is a much-needed specialty, but physicians must never forget that, whatever their regions of special interest, they are treating human beings and not just diseased parts of people.