General System of Surgery (1757)

Lorenz (Laurence) Heister (1683-1758)

     

General System of Surgery (1757)
General System of Surgery (1757)

Lorenz (Laurence) Heister (1683-1758)

Lorenz Heister was a famous German anatomist, surgeon, and botanist. Between 1702 and 1706, he studied at the Universities of Giessen, Wetzlar, Amsterdam, Brussels, Ghent, and finally Leiden under the guidance of the famous anatomists Siegfried Albinus and Hermann Boerhaave. His doctorate came in 1709 from the University of Hardewijk, 40 miles east of Amsterdam. In 1711, he was appointed professor of anatomy and surgery at the University of Altdorf (north-east of Munich), and by 1720 he was named professor of anatomy and surgery at the University of Helmstedt (East of Hanover). In 1730, his reputation earned him a coveted appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

The book in our collection is Heister's best-known work. General System of Surgery was initially published in Latin in 1719 as Institutiones de Chirurgie, an impressive and comprehensive work on surgery. The English translation was first published in 1743. Our copy is a second English edition. Over the 17th century, it was translated into many European languages and had seen 31 editions. It contains forty folding plates with details of surgical instruments and techniques. 

The book has three parts. This edition binds all three of them into one.

It contains the Doctrine and Management: I. Of Wounds, Fractures, Luxations, Tumors, and Ulcers of All Kinds. II. Of the Several Operations Performed on All Parts of the Body, surgical techniques, including "tracheotomy," a term Heister coined first in 1718. The second part includes head and neck surgery, cleft lip and palate, gum, and tooth-related surgery. Finally, III. Of the Several Bandages Applied in All Operations and Disorders.  

The copy we purchased from Barter Books in Alnwick, North, UK, is a former copy from the Royal Society of Surgeons in Ireland. It came severely damaged with scotch or paper tapes holding together torn papers, a damaged spine, misfolded plates, a ripped front page, and missing sections. The book was restored in-house.

Editorial notes by Andrew I Spielman.

Digital Version