1846: Anesthesia first used in patient care
1918: Surgical Leadership and innovation advances in the care of wounded warriors
during WW1. Dr Franklin Martin, the Mayo brothers, George Crile and
William Halsted were instrumental in organizing field hospitals for the American
Expeditionary Force. Plaster casts were used to treat fractures. Advances in
the treatment of open chest wounds and empyema.
1924: Doctors Cole and Graham devise new method (X-rays combined with contrast media)
to detect gall bladder disease.
1935: "Whipple Procedure" introduced by Allen O. Whipple, M.D. of Columbia University
was used to treat pancreatic cancer.
1937: "Blood Bank" opens at Cook County Hospital in Chicago under the direction of
Bernard Fantus, M.D.
1938: First Congenital Heart Defect (ligation of a patent Ductus Arteriosus) corrected in a 7 year old girl in
Boston by Robert E. Gross, M.D.
1939: Study published by Alton Oshsner, M.D. and Michael DeBakey linking tobacco use to Lung Cancer.
1939: Segmental lung resection by Edward D. Churchill, M.D. of Massachusetts General Hospital
to treat tuberculosis.
1940: Michael DeBakey invents roller pump for a direct donor-to-patient transfusion.
1942: Albumin is used to save burn victims in Pearl Harbor attack.
1942-1945: Many advances in military medicine: early debridement of contaminated wounds; delayed
closure of wounds; improved air evacuation process for treating wounded soldiers.
1945: "Blue Babies" successfully treated by Alfred Blalock, M.D., Vivien T. Thomas (surgical
assistant) and Helen Taussig, M.D. (pediatric cardiologist).
1945: First Surgical Procedure to correct coarctation of the aorta performed by Robert E. Gross, M.D..
1952: First Open Heart Operation performed by John Lewis at the University of Minnesota.
1953: "Heart-Lung Machine" used to perform open heart surgery
1954: First successful Human Organ Transplant (Kidney) perfomed by Joseph E. Murray, M.D. at
Boston's Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. In 1990, Dr. Murray received the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
1954: First Carotid Artery Surgery successfully performed
1954: First Cross-Circulation Procedure successfully performed in which a patient's father was used as a
living oxygenator during a procedure on a 13 month old boy.
1959: Endoscopsy vastly improved through application of Hopkins rod-lens system.
1961: Successful repair of a brain aneurysms reported by Canadian Neurosurgeon Charles Drake, M.D.
1962: Hip replacement becomes established procedure with Sir John Charnley, M.D. leading the charge.
1964: First Coronary Artery Bypass graft procedure performed by H. Edward Garrett, M.D. and
1966: First Gastric By-pass procedure for weight reduction performed by University of Iowa Surgeon,
Edward E. Mason, M.D.
1966: Prostate cancer treatment discovery captures Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine by Canadian
Charles Huggins, M.D., professor of Urology at the University of Chicago.
1967: First Liver Transplant performed by Thomas E. Starzl, M.D. at the University of Colorado.
1967: First Human Heart Transplanted by Christiaan Barnard, M.D. in South Africa.
1968: Infant kept alive through intravenous feeding: Stanley J. Dudrick, M.D. published a benchmark report
in the J.A.M.A. on the use of intravenous feeding which proved that an infant could receive all
nutrients by vein and still grow and develop.
1969: Artificial Heart successfully implanted by Denton Cooley, M.D. at Baylor College of Medicine.
1972: First toe-to-thumb transplant by plastic surgeon Harry J. Buncke, M.D.
1972: First Cochlear Device implanted by William House, M.D.
1972-1974: U.S. implements Emergency Medical Service System (EMS)
1973: Greenfield Filter introduced by Lazar J. Greenfield, M.D. which allowed trapping of clots
to prevent pulmonary embolus.
1975: Radical Mastectomy no Longer a Standard Treatment for Breast Cancer
1981: Burn Patient saved by artificial skin ("Integra")
1985: Robot-assisted surgery debuts to biopsy a brain lesion
1986: Double Lungs successfully transplanted
1989: General Surgery Revolutionized by the introduction of Laproscopic Techniques
1991: Endovascular Technique introduced to repair aortic aneurysms.
1994: First Face Replant Peformed by plastic surgeon Abraham G. Thomas, M.D.
when a 9 year old boy's face and scalp were pulled when caught in a thresher.
2011: Landstuhl Regional Medical Center's Trauma Center in Landstuhl Germany, an overseas military
hospital treating American civilians and military in Europe achieved a Level I trauma status, the only
medical center outside the U.S.A. to achieve this status.
2011: Face Transplant performed in Boston during a 20 hour operation with a 30 member surgical team
transplanting a new face to Charla Nash who loss her face in a vicious attack by a friend's pet
2012: Nerve Transfer surgery gives quadriplegic patient partial use of his hand, performed by plastic
surgeon Susan McKinnon, M.D. at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.