What Were General Surgeries Used In Ancient Rome For Medicine

Ancient Roman medicinal techniques

After the fall of Rome, ancient Roman techniques and practices of surgery were largely forgotten until the early 20th century. Even then, when these techniques and practices were rediscovered, many surgeons were sceptical about their efficacy and dismissed the idea that they could be used to treat the diverse array of diseases. One of the most important techniques used in ancient Roman medicine is the use of general surgery.

General surgery was used by the Romans to diagnose and treat a variety of medical problems. In addition to diagnostic treatments, general surgery was used to treat illnesses and injuries, including fractures, dislocations, deformities, and ulcers. For example, the Romans were skilled at using general surgery to treat fractures and dislocations, which were among the most common injuries at that time. They had a variety of methods to reduce dislocations, often using traction to reduce dislocations of the shoulder and elbow joint.

The Romans also had a variety of treatments for ulcers. These treatments included the use of cauterization, excision, ligature, topical astringents, and chemotherapy. The use of chemotherapy was innovative for its time, and involved the use of antiseptics and medications to fight bacterial infections. The Romans used these treatments to treat not only skin ulcers, but also to treat ulcers in the intestine and stomach.

In addition to treating illnesses, the Romans also used general surgery for cosmetic surgery. The most common cosmetic surgery procedures performed in ancient Rome were rhinoplasties, removal of tattoos, and breast enlargement. In addition to these cosmetic procedures, the Romans also used general surgery to treat conditions such as haemorrhoids, stone, bladder and kidney diseases, and removed tumours.

Despite its popularity in ancient Rome, general surgery was largely ignored in the 18th and 19th centuries. This was primarily due to the rise of medical advances that focused on medicine, pharmacology, physiology, and hygiene. Despite this, general surgery endured and continued to be an important part of medicine throughout the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and beyond.

Advances in General Surgery

The use of general surgery in modern medicine has evolved significantly since its first use by the ancient Romans. Today, most general surgeons are trained to perform a wide range of procedures, from laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures, to vascular surgery and trauma surgery.

This is also due to advances in medical technology, which has allowed general surgeons to more easily diagnose and treat problems. For example, laparoscopic and endoscopic methods allow surgeons to access internal organs through small incisions, making recovery times much shorter. Similarly, advances in imaging technology, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans, have enabled surgeons to accurately diagnose and treat conditions.

These advances in technology have allowed general surgeons to become highly specialized. This is especially true for trauma surgeons, who use general surgery techniques to not only treat traumatic injuries, but also to diagnose and prevent long-term damage from occurring. This specialization has helped to improve the quality of care that patients receive.

Risks of General Surgery

As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated with general surgery. These risks include infection, blood clots, damage to internal organs, and reaction to anesthesia. In the case of trauma surgery, these risks can be even more severe, due to the nature of the injuries being treated.

In order to minimize the risks associated with general surgery, it is important to choose a qualified and experienced surgeon. When selecting a surgeon, it is also important to ensure that they are board-certified and highly-trained in the most advanced techniques. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the hospital in which the surgery is performed is properly equipped with the latest technology to ensure safety and a successful outcome.


General surgery has come a long way since its use in ancient Rome. Today, general surgeons are highly trained to perform a wide range of procedures, from laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures to vascular surgery and trauma surgery. While there are risks associated with general surgery, these can be minimized by choosing a qualified and experienced surgeon and ensuring that the hospital is adequately equipped.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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