Early Surgical Instruments from the Mayo Clinic

October 23, 2015 at 9:32 am

Early Surgical Instruments from the Mayo Clinic

Left to right: An orthopedic drill, soldering iron, and cork-screw used in early surgeries at the Mayo Clinic


One of the first operations at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, was performed by Dr. Charles H. Mayo on September 30, 1889. He was assisted by his brother Dr. William J. Mayo and his father, Dr. William W. Mayo. The Mayos equipped the operating room with surgical instruments to meet their immediate needs. Some of the early instruments used by the Mayos are seen in this image. The old-fashioned hand drill was used in orthopedic surgery. A soldering iron was used for cauterizing, and a corkscrew was used in the removal of fibroid tumors. Dr. Charlie was known for his mechanical skills and he fashioned some extra instruments to be used at the hospital.

Courtesy of the W. Bruce Fye Center for the History of Medicine

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