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December 1982

100th Anniversary of the First Cholecystectomy: A Reprinting of the 50th Anniversary Article From the Archives of Surgery, July 1932

Arch Surg. 1982;117(12):1525. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1982.01380360001001

One hundred years ago, on July 15, 1882, at the little Lazarus Krankenhaus in Berlin, Dr Carl Johann August Langenbuch performed the world's first cholecystectomy. The operation had been planned carefully and was carried out without mishap. The patient, a 42-year-old man, recovered without incident. The case was reported and the procedure was described in the Berliner Klinische Wochenschrift for Nov 27, 1882.1 Heretofore, operations on the gallbladder had consisted only of removal of stones, drainage of abscesses, or the establishment or enlargement of cholecystic fistulas. After his initial epochal operation, Langenbuch went on to perform other cholecystectomies and to endorse this procedure enthusiastically, giving as his justification the fact that one thereby removed the cause of gallstone disease rather than merely the effects of it. Initially, there was widespread opposition to this concept, but it was not long before it became accepted practice to remove the gallbladder rather

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