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Moments in Surgical History
March 1999

A Treatise on the Malformation, Injuries, and Diseases of the Rectum and Anus

Arch Surg. 1999;134(3):332. doi:10.1001/archsurg.134.3.332

IT WAS during the 1820s, 30s, and 40s that American surgeons first began to author textbooks and monographs reflective of a growing interest in specialty areas within the whole of surgery. Such examples as George Frick's (1793-1870) A Treatise on the Diseases of the Eye (1823), William Dewees' (1768-1841) A Treatise on the Diseases of Females (1826), Samuel Gross' (1805-1884) The Anatomy, Physiology, and Diseases of the Bones and Joints (1830), Horace Green's (1802-1866) A Treatise on Diseases of the Air Passages (1846), and Homer Bostwick's (?-1862) A Complete Practical Work on the Nature and Treatment of Venereal Diseases, and Other Affections of the Genito-Urinary Organs of the Male and Female (1848) represent the rudimentary beginnings of "surgical specialization." Joining this esteemed list is George Macartney Bushe's (1793-1836) A Treatise on the Malformations, Injuries, and Diseases of the Rectum and Anus (1837) . Considered the first textbook on colon and rectal surgery to be published in the United States, the work is unique in the annals of American medicine in that it is the only 19th-century surgical monograph to be issued with a separate atlas of lithograph plates (in this case 9 illustrations, 7 of which are hand-colored), a practice already well-established in Europe.

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