Small bottle containing catgut ligatures, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1869-1875

Made:
1869-1875 in Edinburgh

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Small bottle containing carbolised catgut ligature, by J.F. MacFarlan and Co. of Edinburgh, c. 1870

Catgut has a misleading name as it is actually collagen taken from healthy mammals, usually sheep. Catgut ligatures were used to tie off arteries and vessels during surgery. The catgut was covered in carbolic acid (phenol). Joseph Lister (1817-1912) introduced catgut ligatures in 1869 as part of his antisepsis techniques. The carbolic acid was used to prevent infection. The ligatures were absorbed by the body once their work was done. J F Macfarlan, who manufactured and sold this product, made a number of surgical instruments and appliances for Lister under the surgeon’s direction.

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Details

Category:
Surgery
Object Number:
A648229
type:
ligature
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • surgical equipment
  • surgical instrument
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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