In this episode, we'll cover the history of transgender medicine, with a focus on the development of the main surgical procedures in gender reassignment surgery, including vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, and metoidioplasty. A number of trailblazing surgeons and patients will be covered, and there is even a suture tale about a strange Victorian practice of clitoridectomy. Listener beware: this episode contains some graphic descriptions of genital surgery.
In this episode, we're going to do something a bit different. I've taken a number of shorter but very interesting topics, either that I've come across on my own or have been suggested by listeners, and turned 5 of them into this episode. There's a medication, a maneuver, a procedure, a person, and a device! And if you have an idea for a topic, please let me know, maybe it will be on the next suture tales!
In this bonus episode, we cover the long and strange history of the bezoar, a stone that forms in the stomachs of some animals (including humans!) We will go back to the earliest recordings of bezoars in medicine, their use as a treatment for poison, particularly in the Islamic medical world, their rise in popularity in Renaissance Europe, and of course, meet a famous surgeon along the way. Please enjoy a little holiday break from the usual fare!
Dec 30, 2020
In this episode, we explore the origins of our understanding of blood and its function, going all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. We'll discuss the humeral system championed by Galen, and how these concepts were finally corrected with the discovery of the circulatory system. The consumption of blood, a practice dating back to ancient times, will be covered, as well as the first transfusions into humans, including the first truly successful one by Dr. James Blundell. As always, there will be lots of twists and turns, so enjoy!
Nov 24, 2020
This episode was written by a guest contributor, Harvard student Simar Bajaj. In it, we cover some of the anatomy and function of the esophagus, before tracing the history of the earliest attempts at operating on the esophagus (in ancient Egypt!) up to the modern era. We'll meet a number of surgical legends, and explore some related and fun topics, like answering the question, 'can you burp in space'?
Oct 15, 2020
In this episode, we will cover the story of providing fluids and nutrients intravenously, leading up to Dr. Stanley Dudrick and the development of TPN (total parenteral nutrition), including the first patients to receive this groundbreaking therapy. As usual, we will explore a few related topics, including some of the earliest experiments with radioactive materials, and much more!
Sep 9, 2020
The subject for this episode, written and narrated by Dr. David Sigmon, is the great medieval surgeon Guy de Chauliac. His life and works are covered, including the 'Chirurgia Magna', or 'Great Writings on Surgery', but the main focus is his role in fighting the Black Death in Avignon, France, in 1342, and the lessons he learned about the plague that devastated much of Western civilization.
Aug 3, 2020
This episode was written by a guest contributor, Simar Bajaj, a student of the History of Science at Harvard University. In it, we cover the story of the mitral valve, from its earliest descriptions, to the discovery of its function and pathology, and of course, the evolution of the surgical treatment of both stenosis and regurgitation. In addition to meeting the surgeon innovators, we will of course take some detours, looking at how percussion became a part of the physical exam, reviewing the origins of the term hyperkalemia, cover some surgical rivalries, and lots more!
Jul 29, 2020
This episode was written by a guest contributor, Dr. David Warmflash, and covers the history of the use of induced hypothermia in surgery, from its earliest days in Ancient Egypt, through Napoleon-era France, and to the early days of cardiac surgery! We will also explore a more modern application in the setting of trauma, and of course, take a few detours along the way.
Jul 7, 2020
In this episode, we'll cover the brilliant but difficult character of Guillaume Dupuytren, and of course the disease which bears his name. In addition to his life, we'll take a deep dive into the history of Dupuytren's disease, also known as the Viking's disease, the curse of the MacCrimmons, and the Hand of Benediction, among others. There are lots of side stories, too, including a bit of history of the bagpipes! And 'Suture Tales' makes a return for the 50th anniversary of the Swan-Ganz catheter!
Jun 8, 2020