Tuesday, November 29, 2016


From: fisher.k12.il.us

Amputations were a common surgery performed in the civil war. Doctors said that it saved many more lives than it killed. Survival rate for amputations done in the first 24hrs. After an injury was very good with mortality. If they were done after the first 24hrs -mortality rate doubled to 50%. Surgeons tried to go as fast as possible. It’s generally a myth that most operations were performed without anesthesia with only a bullet to bite.

Their procedure:

1st-they cut off blood flow with a tourniquet.

2nd-after that he’d take a scalpel and slice through the outlying tissue and flesh.

3rd-Then he’d use a hacksaw-like tool called a capital saw to saw through the bone. (It had replaceable blades.)

4th-after bone and flesh was all sliced off the surgeon would take silk sutures in the north and cotton sutures in the south and sew the major arteries and veins together. This limb would be dropped on a pile that got thrown out on the platform. This would take about 15 min.

Amputation tools

Proving an amputation or surgical kit was used in the Civil War is difficult. There were two types of amputation blades, The circular blade which would more than likely be earlier then the Civil War, and the straight blade about the time of the Civil War.


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