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World J Surg. 2009 Jun;33(6):1310-7. doi: 10.1007/s00268-009-9960-2.

Surgical diseases of the womb according to Aetius of Amida (6th century A.D.).

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Konstantopoulion General Hospital, 3-5, Ag. Olgas Str., N. Ionia, 14233, Athens, Greece.



In the interest of presenting historical background for modern-day medicine and surgery, the authors comment on the concepts of the eminent Byzantine physician Aetius of Amida (sixth century A.D.) in surgical treatment of diseases of the womb.


The 16th book of Aetius' work Tetrabiblus, in the original Greek language, a treatise on gynecology and obstetrics of his era, was investigated. Comparison was then made of the relative knowledge among ancient and Byzantine physicians.


Aetius analytically describes many surgical diseases of the womb (prolapse, abscesses, phimosis, atresia, hemorrhoids, stones, thymos, chaps) and gives a detailed symptomatology and conservative and surgical treatment. His work followed Hippocratic, Roman, and early Byzantine physicians, especially Soranus, the "Father of ancient gynecology and obstetrics" and influenced later physicians of his era and beyond.


Aetius of Amida gives significant information about surgical approaches to diseases of the womb, the most detailed of any medical writer of his epoch. His descriptions, following the Hippocratic and mainly the Hellenistic and Roman traditions, influenced Islamic and European medicine, and through them the rest of the world, constituting the roots of the specialty of gynecology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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