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Moments in Surgical History |

Surgery in Sweden at the Time of Halsted

Per-Olof Hasselgren, MD
Arch Surg. 2004;139(1):100-112. doi:10.1001/archsurg.139.1.100.
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William Stewart Halsted (1852-1922) is one of the most influential persons in the history of US surgery. His surgical career can be divided into the years in New York, NY (1880-1889), and the years in Baltimore, Md (1889-1922). In addition to the important growth and development of surgery that took place in the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s, an equally impressive growth in surgery took place in many other countries, in particular, in Western Europe. Although a small country, Sweden also saw a strong development of surgery between 1880 and 1920. In this article, some of the surgeons who were prominent in Sweden during this era (Karl Gustav Lennander in Uppsala; John Wilhelm Berg in Stockholm; and Jacques Borelius in Lund) and some of the surgical procedures that were introduced are described. In addition, a few nonsurgeons are discussed because their work significantly influenced surgery. Learning about some of the achievements in surgery during the late 1800s and early 1900s is not only educational but inspiring, and puts today's surgical practice and scientific achievements in an important historical perspective.

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Figures

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Figure 1.

William Stewart Halsted, MD.

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Figure 2.

A postcard sent home to Sweden from immigrants depicting the "good life" in the United States.

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Figure 3.

Karl Gustav Lennander, MD, Uppsala, Sweden.

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Figure 4.

Karl Gustav Lennander, MD, teaching medical students (Lennander has the black beard, second from the left in the first row).

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Figure 5.

Karl Gustav Lennander, MD, removing a revolver bullet from the brain. The procedure took place in 1897.

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Figure 6.

John Wilhelm Berg, MD, Stockholm, Sweden.

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Figure 7.

Invitation card from Theodor Billroth, MD, to John Wilhelm Berg, MD, to attend a laparotomy. The text, in German, reads "Herr Professor Berg is hereby invited to a laparotomy on Saturday, 11th of January, at 9 o'clock provided that he promises not to visit on the same day before the operation either a hospital room or autopsy room or other rooms in the pathology department and also not to use clothes that he wears when visiting any of those institutions. Entry into the operating room is permitted only upon presenting this invitation card."

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Figure 8.

John Wilhelm Berg, MD, giving a lecture at the Serafimer Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, 1916.

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Figure 9.

Gösta Forssell, MD, at the newly opened X-ray Department at the Serafimer Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, 1910.

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Figure 10.

Ivar Viktor Sandström, MD, Uppsala, Sweden.

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Figure 11.

Anatomical drawing from the original work of Ivar Viktor Sandström, MD, published in Uppsala Läkareförenings Förhandlingar, 1880.24

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Figure 12.

Hans Christian Jacobaeus, MD, performing a thoracoscopy.

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Figure 13.

Trocar used by Hans Christian Jacobaeus, MD, for performing a laparoscopy. The valve allows for the creation of pneumoperitoneum.33(p2091)

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Figure 14.

Alfred Nobel.

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