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June 6, 1980


JAMA. 1980;243(21):2213-2215. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300470073043

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In surgery the decade of the 1970s may be characterized best as a period of confirmation or reaffirmation of what was known—a consolidation of gains. Innovations, new procedures, and new techniques became established as accepted treatment. Certainly new approaches were developed and introduced during this period, but progress came not so much from the new as from doing better what already could be done. The innovations of the 1960s were solidified in the 1970s.

What constitute advances in surgery? New operations? Technical adaptations? Advances made by surgeons? The results of surgical research (a subject in itself, difficult to define)? Under the rubric are included all of these positive steps that improve the care of patients with diseases that customarily require operative therapy. Thus, progress in surgery may be a new operation, a better diagnostic approach, a better method of support for injured or postoperative patients, or elimination of the need