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December 1997

MOMENTS IN SURGICAL HISTORY: Willy Meyer's Radical Mastectomy

Arch Surg. 1997;132(12):1362. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430360108019

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WILLY MEYER (1858-1932) was born in Minden, Germany, and received his medical education at the universities of Bonn and Erlangen. He emigrated to the United States in 1884 and immediately began to practice medicine and surgery in New York City. From 1886 to 1893, Meyer served on the clinical surgery faculty of the Woman's Medical College, and during those years he was also on the staff of the New York Skin and Cancer Hospital, the German Hospital (now the Lenox Hill Hospital), and the Post-Graduate Hospital. Meyer made many seminal contributions to clinical surgery, including the first published description of Freidrich Trendelenburg's (1844-1924) elevated pelvic position as an aid to the performance of certain pelvic and abdominal operations (1884). Meyer also helped introduce into the United States the concept of cystoscopy (1887) and the catheterization of the male ureters with the aid of the electric cystoscope (1896). An early advocate

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