Cauterization & Cautery Irons

lelliott19

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#1
1552972516409.png

http://www.txindependence.org/print_source.php?id=280
By the 1860's most Surgeons knew that a tourniquet was the preferred method to stop major bleeding and prevent exsanguniation (bleeding out.) They also knew that closing up a bullet wound by cauterizing it was a bad idea. When performing surgery, including amputation and excision, Civil War surgeons used ligatures to tie off major blood vessels. Cauterization may have been used on smaller blood vessels, but, during surgery, arteries and veins were tied off, using silk thread ligatures.

Cauterization is a medical technique of burning a part of the body to remove or close off a part of it. Cautery devices were used during the Civil War to "burn out" infected tissue and gangrene; to remove small tumors; to stop minor bleeding; in the treatment of venereal disease (please don't ask:eek:); and for other non-surgical applications.

There are two main types of cauterization:
  • Chemical cauterization - involves the application of a caustic chemical. Generally, during the Civil War, the chemical of choice was silver nitrate. Chemical cauterization is still in use today.
  • Mechanical cauterization - involves the application of a heated metallic instrument called a caudery or caudery iron. In modern medicine, electrical cauterization and the laser have generally replaced the "hot iron" cautery.
So the majority of Civil War surgeons probably didn't cauterize very often - and most instrument kits didn't even include a cautery device. However, should a surgeon wish to have one, a number of cautery devices, in different shapes, were available.
1552971030478.png

http://www.medicalantiques.com/civilwar/Gemrig_catalog_1866/Gemrig_catalog_images/Gemrig%20catalog%20images/gplate41.jpg
This page, above, from an 1866 Gemrig Instrument Catalog, illustrates several varieties. The top two "irons" came as a set with a removable ebony handle with set screw. The bottom iron, labeled 2, was permanently attached to its wooden handle. Below are a couple of other examples from http://antiquescientifica.com
1552973965710.png

@Mike Serpa this thread is for you.
 
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#2
View attachment 297781
http://www.txindependence.org/print_source.php?id=280
By the 1860's most Surgeons knew that a tourniquet was the preferred method to stop major bleeding and prevent exsanguniation (bleeding out.) They also knew that closing up a bullet wound by cauterizing it was a bad idea. When performing surgery, including amputation and excision, Civil War surgeons used ligatures to tie off major blood vessels. Cauterization may have been used on smaller blood vessels, but, during surgery, arteries and veins were tied off, using silk thread ligatures.

Cauterization is a medical technique of burning a part of the body to remove or close off a part of it. Cautery devices were used during the Civil War to "burn out" infected tissue and gangrene; to remove small tumors; to stop minor bleeding; in the treatment of venereal disease (please don't ask:eek:); and for other non-surgical applications.

There are two main types of cauterization:
  • Chemical cauterization - involves the application of a caustic chemical. Generally, during the Civil War, the chemical of choice was silver nitrate. Chemical cauterization is still in use today.
  • Mechanical cauterization - involves the application of a heated metallic instrument called a caudery or caudery iron. In modern medicine, electrical cauterization has generally replaced the "hot iron" cautery.
So the majority of Civil War surgeons probably didn't cauterize very often - and most instrument kits didn't even include a cautery device. However, should a surgeon wish to have one, a number of cautery devices, in different shapes, were available.
View attachment 297779
http://www.medicalantiques.com/civilwar/Gemrig_catalog_1866/Gemrig_catalog_images/Gemrig%20catalog%20images/gplate41.jpg
This page, above, from an 1866 Gemrig Instrument Catalog, illustrates several varieties. The top two "irons" came as a set with a removable ebony handle with set screw. The bottom iron, labeled 2, was permanently attached to its wooden handle. Below are a couple of other examples from http://antiquescientifica.com
View attachment 297784
@Mike Serpa this thread is for you.
Thank you again. Cauterization was not used often. Got it. A special post for me. I hope nobody else reads it!
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#3
Another look at what war was, from lelliot! I'm not sure there's enough focus on what happened in the aftermath of a glorious charge- maybe the next scene involves a lovely nurse at a bedside. That isn't meant to be snarky or sarcastic. We have images of ACW hospitals sprawling over acres, too many wounded men to fathom. What it took to heal one and who did it gets missed.

And whoa. ACW medicine can't have been all that primitive. Tying off blood vessels? Must be like tying invisible, slippery thread.
 


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