SCIENCES

The Invention of Surgery: A History of Modern Medicine; From the Renaissance to the Implant Revolution

Pegasus. Mar. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9781643133164. $28.95. MED
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Schneider, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulder and elbow replacement, relates a history of surgery that is informative, entertaining, and highly readable. He begins with the invention of the printing press, which allowed early students of medicine to share information, and then continues to explain how the Renaissance stimulated interest in human anatomy and physiology. At the time, surgeons were held in disdain by nonsurgical physicians. One of the first to lead the way in overcoming such attitudes was Andreas Vesalius, who wrote the first anatomical text, in the process disputing much of the “common knowledge” in medicine in place since the Roman Empire. Following the Renaissance, rapid developments in science and the scientific method advanced surgical practice. Schneider covers innovations in pathology, germ theory, antibiotics, and anesthesia, and spends the last few chapters specifically discussing implant surgery, issues with FDA clearance of devices, and the future of implants as they become increasingly miniaturized.
VERDICT Written for general readers, this book will appeal to anyone interested in the current state of health care and how we got here. It will be of particular interest to those who have experienced implantation surgery.

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