Surgery during this period killed as many as it cured, mostly due to sepsis. It was in Europe, where the surgical arts were being perfected, at this time, specifically France, and new techniques flourished there and were quickly disseminated among European medical schools. However, even in Europe, sepsis [infection] was still a problem.
Most surgeries in the US involved the treating of wounds, as well as battle wounds. Amputation was most probably the leading surgical procedure performed.
In 1809, Jane Todd Crawford (Lincoln’s wife’s—Mary Todd— cousin) was diagnosed with a very large ovarian cyst which had originally been diagnosed as a pregnancy. At the time, no tumor had ever been removed successfully. However, there was a visiting surgeon from Edinburgh who agreed to do the surgery. According to Gail Collins, he gave her opium and alcohol to ease the pain, and a month later she returned home cured.
Edited by Chellers
Courtesy of Civil War Rx