Development of Surgical Tools

Development of Surgical Tools 645d51a624d6b.png

Long before the development of the technology that led to the creation of non-invasive procedures to treat benign prostate hyperplasia, the major medical advancements were the creation of new surgical tools. And, a real game changer was the creation of the resectoscope.

The resectoscope was introduced in the late 1920s by Maximilian Stern. Stern was able to utilize the direct vision made available by inserting the tool, which had a tungsten wire loop on one end into the cystoscope. He then used an electrical cutting current in order to use the loop to successfully cut away excess prostate tissue.

As with all great inventions, the resectoscope left room for further innovation, such as a modified version by Theodore Davis, which had a larger viewing area and a wider loop, as well as a foot pedal attached to it that allowed him to switch between currents that cut and currents that cauterized.

Further improvements included that of Joseph McCarthy who combined Davis’s improved resectoscope with the phonendoscope- which had an even better viewing system.

By combining these two advancements, McCarthey created what would become known as the Stern-McCarthy resectoscope.

Though it arguably should have been called the Stern-Davis-McCarthy resectoscope, the Stern-McCarthy resectoscope is credited with being the first practical cutting-loop resectoscope, and as a result, transurethral prostatectomy emerged as the dominant method used to treat enlarged prostate for the next 70 years

This method, also known as TURP (Transurethral resection of the prostate ), which is still done today- would not have been possible without all of this innovation.

In fact, it wouldn’t have been possible without many inventions that preceded it. Such as Dr. Young’s cystoscope, as well as the first practical incandescent light bulb, the fenestrated tube, and the application of high-frequency electrical current underwater.

These inventions and surgical procedures led the way to more advanced methods which use fiber optics, video cameras, laser energy, and others.

Though TURP is still used as a treatment procedure for an enlarged prostate, more and more, it is being replaced by newer medical therapies and less invasive procedures such as genicular artery embolization.

In our next article, we will begin to look at the most common present-day surgical and non-invasive surgical procedures to treat an enlarged prostate.

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