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World J Surg. 2008 Sep;32(9):2114-21. doi: 10.1007/s00268-008-9662-1.

From Hippocrates to tissue engineering: surgical strategies in wound treatment.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Surgery, Research Institute Codivilla-Putti - Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Via di Barbiano, 1/10, 40136 Bologna, Italy.


The history of wound treatment has been virtually the history of surgery for many centuries and also is a history of alliance and conflicts between the physician and nature. The Hippocratic statement about natura medicatrix has been well known since antiquity, but often was neglected. Suppuration was considered a necessary event in the healing process and was elicited by the surgeons with traumatic and painful procedures. The concept of simplicity in treating the wounds was suggested by Teodorico Borgognone and Henry de Mondeville in 13th century and was confirmed only three centuries later by the works of Ambroise Paré and Cesare Magati. The history of wound management has been characterized by empiricism since the 18th century, but it took a physiopathological direction during the 19th century when Virchow investigated tissue reaction to injuries, and Lister introduced antiseptic procedures in surgery. By establishing the basis for a biological method to treat wounds, the seeds were sown to enhance the pathways involved in tissue repair, also with the support of new strategies and technology.

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