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Chapter Three Defining Difference (Book chapter)

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Book Series: Rochester Studies in Medical History ISBN: 9781580465946 Year: Pages: 20 Language: English
Publisher: University of Rochester Press Grant: Wellcome Trust
Subject: Surgery
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-15 13:34:12
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Abstract

Ovariotomy provides a useful way of unpacking not just the process of surgical innovation but also the usefulness of innovation as an analytical category in the history of medicine. How might we pin down the meaning of “innovation”—let alone “alternative innovation”—in surgery when these innovations themselves are unstable, changing entities that are difficult to define? Through the example of ovariotomy I show that alternative innovation need not necessarily imply competition between diverse innovations, but that such a framework might also be used to consider how different versions of the “same” operation arise.

Belly-Rippers, Surgical Innovation and the Ovariotomy Controversy

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Book Series: Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Modern History ISBN: 9783319789347 Year: Pages: 267 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-78934-7 Language: English
Publisher: Springer Nature
Subject: History --- Gender Studies --- Medicine (General) --- Surgery --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2020-02-05 11:21:17
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Abstract

This open access book looks at the dramatic history of ovariotomy, an operation to remove ovarian tumours first practiced in the early nineteenth century. Bold and daring, surgeons who performed it claimed to be initiating a new era of surgery by opening the abdomen. Ovariotomy soon occupied a complex position within medicine and society, as an operation which symbolised surgical progress, while also remaining at the boundaries of ethical acceptability. This book traces the operation’s innovation, from its roots in eighteenth-century pathology, through the denouncement of those who performed it as ‘belly-rippers’, to its rapid uptake in the 1880s, when ovariotomists were accused of over-operating. Throughout the century, the operation was never a hair’s breadth from controversy.

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