Muslim Medical Inventions in the Golden Age

Arabic manuscript, 1200 CE, Anatomy of Eye
Anatomy of Eye. Image via Wikipedia

Invention of Surgical instruments

  • A wide variety of surgical instruments and techniques were invented in the Muslim world, as well as the refinement of earlier instruments and techniques. The following instruments are known to have been invented by Muslim surgeons:
  • Hollow hypodermic needle and injection syringe by Ammar ibn Ali al-Mawsili (c. 1000).
  • Over 200 surgical instruments were listed by Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis) in the Al-Tasrif (1000), many of which were never used before by any previous surgeons. Hamidan, for example, listed at least twenty six innovative surgical instruments that Abulcasis introduced. Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis), the “father of modern surgery”, performed surgeries under inhalant anesthesia, and invented the plaster and many other surgical instruments.
  • Bone saw by Abulcasis.
  • Use of catgut for internal stitching, by Abulcasis.
  • Cautery, a special medical instrument used for the cauterization of arteries, by Abulcasis.
  • Ligature, by Abulcasis in the Al-Tasrif, for the blood control of arteries in lieu of cauterization.
  • Use of cotton (itself derived from the Arabic word qutn) as a dressing for controlling hemorrhage.
  • Forceps by Abulcasis in the Al-Tasrif (1000), for extracting a dead fetus.
  • Plaster and adhesive bandage, by Abulcasis.
  • Scalpel, curette, retractor, surgical spoon, sound, surgical hook, surgical rod, and specula, by Abulcasis in his Al-Tasrif (1000).
  • Surgical needle by Abulcasis in his Al-Tasrif.

Medical Technology

  • Muslim physicians pioneered a number of medical treatments, including:
  • Plaster by Abu al-Qasim (Abucasis) in 1000.
  • Tracheotomy by Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) in the 12th century.
  • The medical procedure of inoculation in the medieval Muslim world, later followed by the first smallpox vaccine in the form of cowpox, invented in Turkey in the early 18th century.
  • At least 2,000 medicinal substances.
  • Other medical treatments developed by Muslim physicians include:
  • Modern oral and inhalant anesthesia by Muslim anesthesiologists.
  • Surgeries under inhalant anesthesia with the use of narcotic-soaked sponges which were placed over the face, by Abu al-Qasim and Ibn Zuhr in Islamic Spain.
  • Medical and anesthetic use of Opium by Avicenna.
  • Application of purified alcohol to wounds as an antiseptic agent by Muslim physicians and surgeons in the 10th century.
  • Utilization of special methods for maintaining antisepsis prior to and during surgery by surgeons in Islamic Spain.
  • Specific protocols for maintaining hygiene during the post-operative period, in Córdoba, Spain.
  • Drug therapy and medicinal drugs for the treatment of specific symptoms and diseases, and the use of practical experience and careful observation, by Avicenna, al-Kindi, Ibn Rushd, Abu al-Qasim, Ibn Zuhr, Ibn Baytar, Ibn al-Jazzar, Ibn Juljul, Ibn al-Quff, Ibn al-Nafis, Al-Biruni, Ibn Sahl.
  • Chemotherapeutical drugs in the Muslim world.
  • Specific substances to destroy microbes, and the application of sulfur topically specifically to kill the scabies mite.
  • Medicinal-grade alcohol through distillation, and the first distillation devices for use in chemistry manufactured on a large scale, in the 10th century.
  • Alcohol as a solvent and antiseptic.
  •  Medical university and public hospital
  • The Islamic hospital-universities were the first free public hospitals, the first medical schools, and the first universities to issue diplomas. The first of these institutions was opened in Baghdad during the time of Harun al-Rashid. They then appeared in Egypt from 872 and then in Islamic Spain, Persia and the Maghreb thereafter. Physicians and surgeons at Islamic hospital-universities gave lectures to medical students and a diploma would be issued to any student who completed his/her education and was qualified to be a doctor of Medicine.

via Muslims Inventions in the Golden Age.

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