Antique Medical Diagrams Showcase The Horrors Of Victorian-Era Surgery

Antique Medical Diagrams Showcase The Horrors Of Victorian-Era Surgery

by from Medelita | Friday, Feb 05, 2016

Nothing makes you appreciate the miracle of modern anesthesia more than an up close and personal look at how surgery was performed in the past.

The 19th century saw many medical advancements, particularly in the field of surgery. With the spread of modern germ theory and improvements in sterilization practices saving lives, Victorian-era surgeons, previously comparable to glorified barbers, became elevated to the ranks of the aristocracy.

Thanks to the new book entitled "Crucial Interventions" by Richard Barnett, you can now examine gruesome yet morbidly beautiful medical illustrations taken from rare 19th century surgical textbooks.


Step into the shoes of a 19th century surgical apprentice and say a quick prayer of thanks for the invention of general anesthesia.


Lower jaw resection

Lower jaw resection  


Surgery to correct strabismus

Surgery to correct strabismus


Various foot and toe amputations

Various foot and toe amputations


Artery ligature with sutures and suture hook

Artery ligature with sutures and suture hook

Arm amputation

Arm amputation


All images courtesy of the Wellcome Trust Collection.