Cover image for Under the knife : a history of surgery in 28 remarkable operations / Arnold van de Laar.
Title:
Under the knife : a history of surgery in 28 remarkable operations / Arnold van de Laar.
ISBN:
9781250200105
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2018.
Physical Description:
357 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Translation of: Onder het mes : de beroemdste patiënten en operaties uit de geschiedenis van de chirurgie.
Contents:
Lithotomy -- Asphyxia -- Wound healing -- Shock -- Obesity -- Stoma -- Fracture -- Varicose veins -- Peritonitis -- Narcosis -- Gangrene -- Diagnosis -- Complications -- Dissemination -- Abdomen -- Aneurysm -- Laparoscopy -- Castration -- Lung cancer -- Placebo -- Umbilical hernia -- Short stay, fast track -- Mors in tabula -- Prosthesis -- Stroke -- Gastrectomy -- Anal fistula -- Electricity -- The surgeon of the future : a top 10.
Abstract:
"Surgeon Arnold Van de Laar uses his own experience and expertise to tell this engrossing history of surgery through 28 famous operations - from Louis XIV to JFK, and from Einstein to Houdini. From the story of the desperate man from seventeenth-century Amsterdam who grimly cut a stone out of his own bladder to Bob Marley's deadly toe, Under the Knife offers all kinds of fascinating and unforgettable insights into medicine and history via the operating theater. What happens during an operation? How does the human body respond to being attacked by a knife, a bacterium, a cancer cell or a bullet? And, as medical advances continuously push the boundaries of what medicine can cure, what are the limits of surgery? From the dark centuries of bloodletting and ofamputations without anaesthetic to today's sterile, high-tech operating theatres, Under the Knife is both a rich cultural history, and a modern anatomy class for us all"-- Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

Surgeon Arnold van de Laar uses his own experience and expertise to tell this engrossing history of surgery through 28 famous operations--from Louis XIV and Einstein to JFK and Houdini.

From the story of the desperate man from seventeenth-century Amsterdam who grimly cut a stone out of his own bladder to Bob Marley's deadly toe, Under the Knife offers a wealth of fascinating and unforgettable insights into medicine and history via the operating room.

What happens during an operation? How does the human body respond to being attacked by a knife, a bacterium, a cancer cell or a bullet? And, as medical advances continuously push the boundaries of what medicine can cure, what are the limits of surgery?

With stories spanning the dark centuries of bloodletting and amputations without anaesthetic through today's sterile, high-tech operating rooms, Under the Knife is both a rich cultural history, and a modern anatomy class for us all.


Author Notes

ARNOLD VAN DE LAAR is a surgeon in the Slotervaart Hospital in Amsterdam, specializing in laparoscopic surgery. Born in the Dutch town of 's-Hertogenbosch, van de Laar studied medicine at the Belgian University of Leuven before taking his first job as general surgeon on the Caribbean Island of Sint Maarten. He now lives in Amsterdam with his wife and two children where, a true Dutchman, he cycles to work every day. Under the Knife is his first book.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Amsterdam surgeon Van de Laar devotes his first book to vivid descriptions of notable surgeries, from ancient times to the present. Trial, error, and gore fill these lively accounts of professionals (and a few amateurs) wielding the scalpel to remedy bodily affliction. Van de Laar captures the drama in the Dallas operating room where Lee Harvey Oswald was admitted with acute injuries to the aorta and interior vena cava. He depicts Italian surgeons using their hands to scoop blood clots out of John Paul II's abdomen after the 1981 attempt on the Pope's life, and recounts how a Dutch blacksmith successfully cut into his own body in 1651 to remove a kidney stone. Van de Laar also includes numerous asides on medical topics such as the causes of fever and the art of tying surgical knots. He spotlights famous practitioners, including Rudolf Nissen, who used cellophane-"essentially a sandwich bag"-to wrap a grapefruit-size aneurysm in Albert Einstein, and Malcolm Perry, who was in the operating room for both the Kennedy and Oswald shootings. Fast-paced and lucid, this is medical history not for those with weak stomachs. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Readers looking for a history of surgery or in-depth descriptions of 28 operations in Dutch laparoscopic surgeon van de Laar's first book will be disappointed. This is a compilation of articles published by the author in the surgical journal Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Heelkunde. The result is an inconsistent and disjointed narrative. The operations mentioned are more notable for the patient than for the procedure: the intubation of John F. Kennedy after he was shot, the abdominal surgery on Pope John Paul II, and Louis XIV's fistula. There are the nonsurgical cases of Bob Marley and baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully, who both refused to have their toes amputated, and the chapter "Obesity," which focuses on the gluttonous habits of popes and only fits the book's theme owing to an added description of bariatric surgery. The author is at his best exploring the evolution of a device or procedure such as laparoscopy and electrocoagulation. The stories have a gossipy tone and plenty of trivia. VERDICT For readers interested in medical oddities and strange stories told in a conversational manner, this is a solid choice. Those searching for a history of surgery will want to look elsewhere.-Susanne Caro, North Dakota State Univ., Fargo. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.