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Int J Surg. 2012;10(9):542-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2012.08.011. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

A pioneer in medicine and surgery: Charles Sédillot (1804-1883).

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Department of General and Abdominal Surgery, St. Vincentius Kliniken, University of Freiburg i. Br., Germany.


Professor Charles Sédillot (1804-1883) is one of the pioneers of modern medicine, surgery, anaesthesiology, histopathology and infectiology. Unfortunately, he remains unknown outside of the circles of French military medicine historians. He was the first surgeon in the world to offer techniques such as coxofemoral dislocation and internal urethrotomy, thus becoming a pioneer in endoscopic surgery. By introducing general anaesthesia in France, he revolutionised patient care. In addition, he laid the foundation for the modern, algorithmic treatment of tumours by adopting the principles of clinical histopathology. Long before the description put forth by Semmelweiss (1818-1865), he foresaw and understood the existence and action of microorganisms, which he termed microbes, in the development of postoperative infections. For his work, he was honoured by his peers in France but remained unknown beyond the borders of his homeland. Here, we present a succinct report of the considerable accomplishments of the life and work of this outstanding physician and surgeon.

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