Bow frame amputation saw, Europe, 1601-1700

Made:
1601-1700 in Europe
maker:
Unknown

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Bow-frame amputation saw, wooden handle terminating in eagle head, c. 1680

Made from steel with a mahogany handle designed as an eagle’s head, the amputation saw was used to cut through the muscle, skin and bone of a limb. Decorative handles like this one fell out of favour in the late 1700s as they were uncomfortable for surgeons to use and could unnecessarily damage skin and muscle tissues during the amputation. Unfortunately for patients, these decorative features also provided a good environment in which germs could thrive.

Until the introduction of anaesthetics in the 1840s and 1850s, surgical amputation was something of a last resort and was performed with no, or very limited, pain relief.

Details

Category:
Surgery
Object Number:
A85252
Materials:
blade, steel, frame, steel, handle, mahogany
type:
amputation saw
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • surgical equipment
  • surgical instrument
  • surgical saw
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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