20 scary old school surgical tools

amputationknife2 - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Amputation Knife (1700s)
Knives used for amputations during the 18th century were typically curved, because surgeons tended to make a circular cut through the skin and muscle before the bone was cut with a saw. By the 1800s, straight knives became more popular because they made it easier to leave a flap of skin that could be used to cover the exposed stump.
amputationsaw - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Amputation Saw (1600s)
While some surgeons chose to flaunt their wealth with elaborately decorated saws like this, the crevices in the intricate engravings proved to be a breeding ground for germs.
arrowremover - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Arrow Remover (1500s)
Not much is known about this tool, but it is hypothesized that it was inserted into the wound in a contracted position, with the central shaft used to grasp the arrow. The blades, which appear to have their sharp edges facing outward, were then expanded using the scissor-like handles, thus expanding the flesh around the arrow to prevent the arrowhead from ripping through the meat as it was pulled out.
artificialleech - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Artificial Leech (1800s)
Bloodletting with leeches was such a popular treatment for a range of medical conditions that an artificial leech was invented in 1840 and was used frequently in eye and ear surgery. The rotating blades would cut a wound in the patient's skin, while the cylinder would be used to produce a vacuum that sucked up the blood.
bulletextractor - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Bullet Extractor (1500s)
Elongated bullet extractors could reach bullets embedded deeply in the patient's body. Extractors like this one had a screw tip that could be inserted in the wound and lengthened to pierce the bullet so that it could be pulled out.
cervicaldilator2 - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Cervical Dilator (1800s)
This instrument was used to dilate a woman's cervix during labor, with the amount of dilation measured on the scale by the handle. Such dilators fell out of favor because they often caused the cervix to tear.
circumcisionknife - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Circumcision Knife (1770s)
Ritual circumcision is performed around the world in varying extents and for varying reasons, but few instruments used in the process are as intimidating as this European knife from the 18th century.
ecraseur - 20 scary old school surgical tools

This ecraseur was used to sever hemorrhoids and uterine or ovarian tumors. The chain was looped over the mass and tightened using the ratchet, stopping the circulation of blood to the area.
hemorrhoidforceps - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Hemorrhoid Forceps (1800s)
These forceps were used to grasp a hemorrhoid between the blades and apply pressure to stop the blood supply, causing the hemorrhoid to drop off.
herniatool - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Hernia Tool (1850s)
This unique tool was used after the restoration of a hernia. It was inserted into the body near the affected area and left there for a week to produce scar tissue that would help seal off the hernia.
bulletlocator - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Hirtz Compass (1915)
The Hirtz compass was used to accurately determine where bullets were located in the body so that they could then be removed with precision.
hysterotome - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Hysterotome/Metrotome (1860s-90s)
This hysterotome or metrotome was used to amputate the cervix during a hysterectomy.
lithotome - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Lithotome (1740s-1830s)
This lithotome was used to cut the bladder in order to remove stones. The shaft contained a hidden blade that was inserted into the bladder and then released using a spring handle.
mouthgag2 - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Mouth Gag (1880s-1910s)
This wooden, screw-shaped mouth gag would be inserted into an anesthetized patient's mouth to keep the airway open.
scarificator - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Scarificator (1910s-20s)
Scarificators were used in bloodletting. The spring-loaded blades in this device would cut into the skin, and a special rounded glass cup could be applied over the wound. When warmed, it would help draw the blood out at a faster rate.
skullsaw - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Skull Saw (1830s-60s)
This hand-cranked saw's blades were used to cut through sections of the skull, allowing for access by other instruments.
tobaccoenema - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Tobacco Smoke Enema (1750s-1810s)
The tobacco enema was used to infuse tobacco smoke into a patient's rectum for various medical purposes, primarily the resuscitation of drowning victims. A rectal tube inserted into the anus was connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke towards the rectum. The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration, but doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase "blow smoke up one's ass."
tonsilguillotine - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Tonsil Guillotine (1860s)
This method of removing tonsils worked much like a traditional guillotine, slicing off the infected tonsils. This "double guillotine" design meant that both tonsils could be removed at the same time. Tonsil guillotines were replaced by forceps and scalpels in the early 20th century due to the high rate of hemorrhaging and the imprecise nature of the device, which often left tonsil remnants in the mouth.
trephinedrill - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Trephine (1800s)
This trephine was a hand-powered drill with a cylindrical blade that was used to bore into the skull. The spike in the center was used to start the procedure and to hold the blade in place while cutting.
speculum3 - 20 scary old school surgical tools

Vaginal Speculum (1600s)
Specula have been used for thousands of years to allow doctors better vision and access to the vaginal area (or other body cavities) by expanding after insertion. This 17th century European example, which appears to use a cranking motion to expand, is more ornate and intimidating than most.

  • noodle
  • April 10, 2010, 3:51 pm
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  • 6

    im not trying to be wierd or anythign...but think about the individuals who invented these thigns...they are fucking brilliant. even tho todays "medical advancements"...[as said by someone else up there] are painless..mostly...and look all shiny and full of happiness...all of the listed things must have been helpful in some way or another.

    • md2297
    • April 12, 2010, 8:55 am
  • 2

    ...Somehow the idea of a smoke-enema does not sound appealing to me. Out of everything, that was the creepiest. =T-T=

    • Dawn
    • April 10, 2010, 7:55 pm
  • 2

    i got sick lookin at this

  • 2


  • 2

    I sure do miss the good ol' days of medicine. Everything was so much simpler back then.

    Your arm is bothering you? Let's cut it off.

    • Albane
    • April 12, 2010, 9:10 am
  • 2

    me too what a coincidence...

    • Tiggy
    • April 15, 2010, 10:11 am
  • 1


  • 1

    most those things look like stuff u'd fide in hanible lector's basemant

  • 1

    OMG..... O_o

  • 1

    All of things look very painful. Looks like something that the guy from Hostel or SAW would use to torture people.

  • 1

    wow this is why i am thankful for all the medical advancements today... and its exciting to think about the fact that there will be even better, more accurate tools in the future, OR possibly a tool that could cure cancer :) great post btw

    • Mizuno
    • April 11, 2010, 7:14 am
  • 1


  • 1

    I am really really glad that I live in the current era.

  • 1

    reminds me of the dentist.....+3

  • 1

    Time to stop skimping on medical care then =p

    • noodle
    • April 11, 2010, 4:26 pm
  • 1

    ohh god those look like torture devises

    • pato26
    • April 12, 2010, 7:14 am
  • 1

    I hate you for making #7 the thumbnail. Every time I scroll past this post on the main page it makes me shudder.

  • 1

    Ah no problem dude. Thats the one that got me as well. I mean come on it's a bit much dont you think?

    • noodle
    • April 12, 2010, 10:50 am
  • 1

    Well thats the most extreme way of helping someone... lets see instead of helping you lets remove the problem completely

    • noodle
    • April 12, 2010, 10:51 am
  • 1

    The only defence of it is that it's sharp enough to not prolong the horror...

  • 1

    Lets hope its sharp enough, although it will still hurt like a bitch

    • noodle
    • April 12, 2010, 12:19 pm
  • 1

    but still. even tho many died by the outcomes of these instruments. im sure they halped mankind somehow. hell, it probably even kept the population controlled.especially that circumcision thing. id kill my self just seeing it in person.

    • md2297
    • April 13, 2010, 8:34 am
  • 1

    I made it to the ecraseur - then I was done.

  • 1

    if it doesn't fix the problem it will kill the patient. Either way the pain goes away... =/

    • Tiggy
    • April 15, 2010, 9:59 am
  • 1

    lolz nice smiley. Personally the skull boring thingies were the worst. Made me wince just looking at them

    • Tiggy
    • April 15, 2010, 10:00 am
  • 1

    thats what i meant...

    • md2297
    • April 15, 2010, 10:02 am
  • 1

    The butt-plug was pretty funny

  • 1

    Although it probably gave you colon cancer >.<

    • noodle
    • April 15, 2010, 10:41 am
  • 1

    OW... a skull saw? WTF

  • 1

    they still have a purpose, zombie invasion!

  • 1

    The mouth gag reminded me of "The Pear" Ugh...... ~shives~

  • 1

    Every one of these made me physically cringe... *shudder*

  • 1

    You know the bullet extractor wasn't used on people right? it was used to pull jammed bullets out of barrels.

  • 1

    The one that made me shudder most was the Tobacco Smoke Enema thing because i smoke.

  • 1

    Those all make me happy

  • 1

    Did anyone else notice that the Skull Saw looked suspiciously like a DIY Chainsaw?

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