Surgery underway at the Red Cross Hospital in Tampere, Finland during the 1918 Finnish Civil War.
Plates vi & vii of the Edwin Smith Papyrus, an Egyptian surgical treatise
Sushruta, the author of Sushruta Samhita, one of the oldest texts on surgery
Hippocrates stated in the oath (c. 400 BC) that general physicians must never practice surgery and that surgical procedures are to be conducted by specialists
Ambroise Paré (c. 1510–1590), father of modern military surgery.
12th century medieval eye surgery in Italy
Joseph Lister, pioneer of antiseptic surgery
Hieronymus Fabricius, Operationes chirurgicae, 1685
John Syng Dorsey wrote the first American textbook on surgery
An operation in 1753, painted by Gaspare Traversi.

Medical or dental specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a person to investigate or treat a pathological condition such as a disease or injury, to help improve bodily function, appearance, or to repair unwanted ruptured areas.

- Surgery

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Science and practice of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment, palliation of their injury or disease, and promoting their health.

Statue of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, holding the symbolic Rod of Asclepius with its coiled serpent
The Doctor by Sir Luke Fildes (1891)
Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the United States graduated from SUNY Upstate (1847)
The Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, fresco by Domenico di Bartolo, 1441–1442
Modern drug ampoules
Nurses in Kokopo, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Drawing by Marguerite Martyn (1918) of a visiting nurse in St. Louis, Missouri, with medicine and babies
Louis Pasteur, as portrayed in his laboratory, 1885 by Albert Edelfelt
Surgeons in an operating room
Gynecologist Michel Akotionga of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Medical students learning about stitches
Headquarters of the Organización Médica Colegial de España, which regulates the medical profession in Spain
A 12th-century Byzantine manuscript of the Hippocratic Oath
Statuette of ancient Egyptian physician Imhotep, the first physician from antiquity known by name
Mosaic on the floor of the Asclepieion of Kos, depicting Hippocrates, with Asklepius in the middle (2nd–3rd century)
A manuscript of Al-Risalah al-Dhahabiah by Ali al-Ridha, the eighth Imam of Shia Muslims. The text says: "Golden dissertation in medicine which is sent by Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha, peace be upon him, to al-Ma'mun."
Siena's Santa Maria della Scala Hospital, one of Europe's oldest hospitals. During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church established universities to revive the study of sciences, drawing on the learning of Greek and Arab physicians in the study of medicine.
Paul-Louis Simond injecting a plague vaccine in Karachi, 1898
Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin in September 1928 marks the start of modern antibiotics.
Packaging of cardiac medicine at the Star pharmaceutical factory in Tampere, Finland in 1953.

Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.


An amputee, seen here running with a blade prosthetic.
An above-knee amputation
The 18th century guide to amputations
Partial amputation of index finger.
Transfemoral amputation due to liposarcoma
Three fingers from a soldier's right hand were traumatically amputated during World War I.
Curved knives such as this one were used, in the past, for some kinds of amputations.
Private Lewis Francis was wounded July 21, 1861, at the First Battle of Bull Run by a bayonet to the knee.

Amputation is the removal of a limb by trauma, medical illness, or surgery.

Reconstructive surgery

US Navy 090704-A-0566T-023 Operation Smile staff member Dr. Hal Rosenfeild begins reconstructive surgery for a cleft lip on a three-month-old infant aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20)

Reconstructive surgery is surgery performed to restore normal appearance and function to body parts malformed by a disease or medical condition.

Minimally invasive procedure

Endovascular aneurysm repair -example of minimally invasive procedure
Arthroscopic surgery
Flexible endoscope

Minimally invasive procedures (also known as minimally invasive surgeries) encompass surgical techniques that limit the size of incisions needed and so lessen wound healing time, associated pain and risk of infection.

Plastic surgery

Surgical specialty involving the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the human body.

De curtorum chirurgia
A statue of Sushruta, the father of plastic surgery, at Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Melbourne, Australia.
Plates vi & vii of the Edwin Smith Papyrus at the Rare Book Room, New York Academy of Medicine
Sushruta is considered as the Father of Plastic Surgery by many scholars
The Roman scholar Aulus Cornelius Celsus recorded surgical techniques, including plastic surgery, in the first century AD.
Illustration of an 18th-century nose reconstruction method from Poona performed by an Indian potter, Gentleman's Magazine 1794
Walter Yeo, a sailor injured at the Battle of Jutland, is assumed to have received plastic surgery in 1917. The photograph shows him immediately following (right) the flap surgery by Sir Harold Gillies, and after healing (left).
Navy doctors perform reconstructive surgery on a 21-year-old patient

The early trauma surgery textbook was named after the American Egyptologist, Edwin Smith.


Operation performed in the abdomen or pelvis using small incisions with the aid of a camera.

Illustration of Laparoscopy
Cholecystectomy as seen through a laparoscope. Clockwise from the top left, the text reads: 'Gallbladder', 'Cystic artery', 'In bag coming out,' and Cystic duct.
Surgeons perform laparoscopic stomach surgery.
Laparoscopic instruments.
A laparoscopic robotic surgery machine.
Hans Christian Jacobaeus

Laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery (MIS), bandaid surgery, or keyhole surgery, is a modern surgical technique.

Surgical instrument

Various scalpels

A surgical instrument is a tool or device for performing specific actions or carrying out desired effects during a surgery or operation, such as modifying biological tissue, or to provide access for viewing it.

Segmental resection

Surgery underway at the Red Cross Hospital in Tampere, Finland during the 1918 Finnish Civil War.

Segmental resection (or segmentectomy) is a surgical procedure to remove part of an organ or gland, as a sub-type of a resection, which might involve removing the whole body part.


Various scalpels. The first (from left), second, and fourth have replaceable blades. The fifth is a lancet.
Palmar grip
Pencil grip
X-Acto knife

A scalpel, lancet, or bistoury is a small and extremely sharp bladed instrument used for surgery, anatomical dissection, podiatry and various arts and crafts (called a hobby knife).

Surgical technologist

Surgical technologist demonstrating proper precautionary raised idle hand position
Demonstrating proper hand position and technique after gowning and before gloving

A surgical technologist, also called a scrub, scrub tech, surgical technician, or operating room technician, is an allied health professional working as a part of the team delivering surgical care.