Thursday, February 28, 2013

Civil War Operating Tables

By Cassie Nespor
From: The Rose Melnick Medical Museum
Operating tables of the early- and mid-1800s were very simple wooden planks that may have had restraints for the chest and extremities. These would have been necessary because surgery was done without anesthesia. These basic tables were made more for the surgeon’s comfort than for the patient. Operating tables or chairs would have placed the patient at a comfortable position for the surgeon to work.
As the types of surgery increased due to the use of anesthesia and antiseptic practices, the operating tables and chairs were designed to offer a variety of surgical positions. The table was divided into multiple sections that could be manually adjusted to achieve these positions. Foot rests, shoulder braces, and stirrups held the patient in place. Channels and basins for blood and pus were added.


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