[Skip to Navigation]
Sign In
August 1997


Arch Surg. 1997;132(8):933. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430320135027

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Of William Halsted's (1852-1922) many seminal contributions to clinical surgery, one of the most eponymically remembered is his radical mastectomy. It is commonly believed that Halsted first discussed this surgical technique in an article published in The Johns Hopkins Hospital Reports (1894-1895;4:297-350). At that time, he presented 50 cases and wrote that

the pectoralis major muscle, entire or all except its clavicular portion, should be excised in every case of cancer of the breast.... The suspected tissues should be removed in one piece (1) lest the wound become infected by the division of tissues invaded by the disease or of lymphatic vessels containing cancer cells and (2) because shreds or pieces of cancerous tissue might readily be overlooked in a piecemeal extirpation.

Halsted listed 15 steps involved in this technique, ranging from placement of the skin incision to the complete excision of axillary contents. Four years later, he presented an

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview
Add or change institution