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April 25, 1896


JAMA. 1896;XXVI(17):803-807. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430690005002

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Assuming that the Association is deeply interested in the evolution of abdominal surgery, I presume to trace the history of splenectomy which will reveal forgotten facts established by the surgeons of old, which challenge the criticism and shame the technique of the most modern.

Physiologists are yet discussing the rule that the spleen plays in the animal economy, a question that was practically settled by Viard about the middle of the sixteenth century, he having removed the spleen from three patients, all of whom made perfect recoveries. Some twenty years before, Zacarelli appears as the first surgeon who successfully removed the spleen. These cases were not generally published and but few had the temerity to follow such brilliant leaders. As a consequence in the next two hundred' years we find but twelve splenectomies. A large percentage of these were for wound with a protrusion of the organ. From 1800 to

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