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Surgery

“Now we are beginning to find out that the Hindu Shastras also contain a Sanitary Code no less correct in principal, and that the great law-giver, Manu, was one of the greatest sanitary reformers the world has ever seen.”

-Lord Ampthill, 1905
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“The Ancient Hindus attained as thorough a proficiency in medicine and surgery as any people whose acquisitions are recorded. This might be expected, because their patient attention and natural shrewdness would render them excellent observers, whilst the extent and fertility of their native country would furnish them with many valuable drugs and medicaments. Their diagnosis is said, in consequence, to define and distinguish symptoms with great accuracy, and their Materia Medica is most voluminous.”

– Professor Wilson
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“In surgery, too, the Indians seem to have attained a special proficiency, and in this department, European surgeons might, perhaps, even at the present day still learn something from them, as indeed they have already borrowed from them the operation of rhinoplasty.”

– Mr. Weber
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The surgery of the ancient Indian physicians was bold and skilful. They conducted amputations, arresting the bleeding by pressure, a cup-shaped bandage and boiling oil; practiced lithotomy ; performed operations in the abdomen and uterus ; cured hernia, fistula, piles ; set broken bones and dislocations ; and were dexterous in the ex-traction of foreign substances from the body. A special branch of surgery was devoted to rhinoplasty, or operation for improving deformed ears and noses and forming new ones, a useful operation which European surgeons have now borrowed. The ancient Indian surgeons also mention a cure for neuralgia, analogous to the modern cutting of the fifth nerve above the eyebrow. They devoted great care to the making of surgical instruments, and to the training of students by means of operations performed on wax spread on a board or on the tissues and cells of the vegetable kingdom, and upon dead animals. They were expert in midwifery, not shrinking from the most critical operations, and in the diseases of women and children. Their practice of physic embraced the classifications, causes, symptoms and treatment of diseases, diagnosis and prognosis. Considerable advances were also made in veterinary science, and monographs exist on the diseases of horses, elephants, etc.”

-William Hunter

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