Ancient Egyptian Medicine

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Surgical Instruments

Although surgery specialties where not prevalent in the physicians of ancient times, surgery was performed, usually by general practicing physicians. Surgical tools included knives, drills, saws, hooks, forceps and pinchers, scales, spoons, and a vase with burning incense. Egyptian physicians classified wounds into three categories, depending on the chance of a successful treatment. These were ailments that could be treated, ailments that could be contended, and ailments that could not be treated. An ailment that was to be contended meant the physician had to wait and see if the patient was going to survive before starting the procedures. Some of the treatments of the wounded were written down in the Edwin Smith Papyrus.

--This incised relief was taken from the outer enclosure wall of the temple of Kom Ombo. The depressions are the surgical tools that ancient Egyptians used.--

(To see images of Egyptian surgical instruments, click on the depression.)
--Instruments shown in a depression made on the enclosure wall of the temple of Kom Ombo.--

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Created: 10/15/2001 Updated: 12/11/2001