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Drawing on a tomb/wall from Ankhmahor, Sakkara, Egypt, of an adult circumcision. Source: Public Domain

What Surgery Was Like in Ancient Egypt (Video)

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Surgery in ancient Egypt was a remarkable display of ingenuity and resourcefulness. Despite the absence of modern anesthesia and antiseptic methods, ancient Egyptian physicians demonstrated remarkable skill in treating various ailments. While invasive surgeries were virtually non-existent due to the risks of excruciating pain and infection, they excelled in topical remedies and basic medical procedures. Using wooden splints and linen bandages, they adeptly set broken bones and stitched wounds, techniques that were crucial for survival in their time.

The Egyptians were also pioneers in crafting surgical tools, primarily made from copper, including pincers, forceps, and saws, which laid the foundation for modern medical instruments. Additionally, they innovated in prosthetics, as evidenced by the discovery of a wooden and leather toe prosthesis, suggesting a sophisticated understanding of functional limb replacement.

The practice of circumcision, potentially originating in ancient Egypt, further illustrates their medical advancements. While anesthesia was absent, they prioritized cleanliness, reflecting a rudimentary understanding of hygiene and disease prevention.

Ancient Egyptian medicine was not without its quirks, often incorporating magical rituals alongside practical treatments. Despite their reliance on supernatural explanations for illnesses, their medical practices undoubtedly saved lives and contributed to the development of medical knowledge for centuries to come.

Top image: Drawing on a tomb/wall from Ankhmahor, Sakkara, Egypt, of an adult circumcision. Source: Public Domain                 

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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