The Historical Timeline of Surgery (Notable Milestones in Surgical History)

Timeline created by daliya.f
  • 6500 BCE

    Signs of Rudimentary Surgery

    Signs of Rudimentary Surgery
    The first ever skulls were found in France which showed signs of a rudimentary surgery called trepanation. This method involved drilling a hole in the skull.
  • 1540 BCE

    Formation of the United Barber-Surgeons Company

    Formation of the United Barber-Surgeons Company
    English surgeons and barbers united to form The United Barber-Surgeons Company. Together these barber-surgeons performed tooth extractions and bloodletting (withdrawal of blood from a patient to prevent or cure illness and disease).
  • First Transfusion of Human Blood

    First Transfusion of Human Blood
    A British obstetrician by the name James Blundell successfully transfused human blood to a patient who had hemorrhaged (an escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel) during childbirth.
  • Period: to

    The 1800's

  • First Hysterectomy Performed

    First Hysterectomy Performed
    Charles Clay, an English surgeon, also known as the "Father of Ovariotomy" performed the first ever hysterectomy in Manchester, England.
  • Anesthesia First Used

    Anesthesia First Used
    Ether was used as the first anesthetic publicly during a surgery. The patient was conscious but didn't experience any pain during the procedure to remove a tumor in his neck.
  • Drastic Decrease in the Mortality Rate for Surgical Patients

    Drastic Decrease in the Mortality Rate for Surgical Patients
    British surgeon Joseph Lister published a book called "Antiseptic Principle in the Practice of Surgery", this book outlined all the measures of cleanliness to be taken for a surgical procedure. Because of this, the mortality rate for surgical patients immediately fell.
  • First Appendectomy Performed

    First Appendectomy Performed
    First successful appendectomy was performed by Dr. William West Grant, in Iowa.
  • First Successful Heart Surgery Performed

    First Successful Heart Surgery Performed
    First successful heart surgery was performed at the Provident Hospital in Chicago. Even though the surgery repaired the pericardium (the sac around the heart), many did not consider this to be the first successful "heart surgery" because the heart itself as an organ was not operated on.
  • First X-ray Performed

    First X-ray Performed
    The first ever X-ray was performed by a physicist named Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen at the University of Würzburg in Germany.
  • Another Successful Heart Surgery

    Another Successful Heart Surgery
    Surgeons in Germany repaired a stab wound in the muscle of the right ventricle.
  • Cornea Transplant

    Cornea Transplant
    First successful cornea transplant surgery was performed by an Austrian ophthalmologist Eduard Zirm, who transplanted the cornea's in both eyes of a man who had previously been blinded.
  • Period: to

    The 1900's

  • Plastic Surgery

    Plastic Surgery
    First documented plastic surgery was performed on a burned English sailor.
  • Discovery of Antibiotics

    Discovery of Antibiotics
    Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, an antibiotic due to which a significant decrease in the rate of mortality due to infections was seen.
  • Gender Change Operation

    Gender Change Operation
    First sex-change operation (male to female) took place in Germany.
  • Metal Hip Replacement Surgery

    Metal Hip Replacement Surgery
    The first metal hip replacement surgery was performed by an American Surgeon, Dr. Austin T. Moore at Columbia Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina.
  • Organ Transplant

    Organ Transplant
    First successful organ transplant took place. The kidney recipient rejected the organ after eight months.
  • Actual Heart Surgery

    Actual Heart Surgery
    First ever successful heart surgery was performed where the heart was stopped and restarted.
  • Pancreas Transplant

    Pancreas Transplant
    The first successful pancreas transplant ever was performed at the University of Minnesota. R. Lillehei and W. Kelly transplanted a kidney and a pancreas in a diabetic patient on dialysis, getting function of both organs.
  • Liver Transplant

    Liver Transplant
    First ever successful liver transplant.
  • In Vitro Fertilization

    In Vitro Fertilization
    First "test-tube" baby was born using in vitro fertilization technique.
  • Robotic Surgery

    Robotic Surgery
    First robotic surgery was documented.
  • Hand Transplant

    Hand Transplant
    First successful hand transplant (previous patients had rejected their grafts).
  • Win of a Robotic Surgical System

    Win of a Robotic Surgical System
    Da Vinci robotic surgical system won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. This system is now used in a wide variety of procedures, including prostate surgeries and coronary artery bypass.
  • Period: to

    The 2000's

  • Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery

    Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery
    First natural orifice transluminal (experimental surgical technique whereby "scarless" abdominal operations can be performed) endoscopic surgery performed. This technique uses a natural body opening, such as the mouth, to insert instruments and minimize recovery times.
  • Near-Total Full Face Transplant

    Near-Total Full Face Transplant
    Connie Culp, a U.S resident was the first person to receive a near-total full face transplant in the United States. This procedure was performed at The Cleveland Clinic.
  • Actual Full Face Transplant

    Actual Full Face Transplant
    World's first ever full-face transplant performed was in Spain.
  • Nerve Transfer Procedure

    Nerve Transfer Procedure
    A nerve transfer procedure was done which gave a paraplegic (affected by or relating to paralysis of the legs and lower body) patient the ability to move their hands.