Year of publication
- 1998 (4) (remove)
- Patrick C. Steptoe: laparoscopy, sterilization, the test-tube baby, and mass media (1998)
- In the late 1950s, Patrick C. Steptoe, a British gynecologist, established contact with Palmer of Paris and Frangenheim of Wuppertal, Germany, and studied laparoscopic technique under the tutelage of these pioneers. Despite the negative attitude among his colleagues, Steptoe soon became one of the most innovative researchers in the field of abdominal endoscopy, particularly laparoscopic sterilization. In the late 1960s, Steptoe began working with Robert Edwards, an embryologist, and launched an in-vitro fertilization project obtaining eggs by means of laparoscopy. Both researchers experienced years of frustration, disappointment, ethical and scientific criticism as well as a difficult relationship with the mass media. Finally, in July 1978, Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, was born in England. Like many of his colleagues in the 1950s and 1960s, Patrick Christopher Steptoe (1913-1988), a gynecologist in Oldham, Great Britain, was concerned about the number of unnecessary laparotomies. Unfortunately, the Oldham group of hospitals was not a university clinic and Steptoe had scanty opportunity to develop his own research. In the late 1950s, he searched the medical literature for an alternative form of examination and came across publications about Decker's culdoscopy, the vaginal approach to view the abdomen. Since this method was not widespread in England, Steptoe, in 1958, went to Montreal, Boston, and New York in order to observe and learn the practical use of culdoscopy. However, Steptoe left America disappointed.
- Kurt Semm and the fight against skepticism: endoscopic hemostasis, laparoscopic appendectomy, and Semm's impact on the "laparoscopic revolution" (1998)
- In the 1970s, Semm developed thermocoagulation, adapted the Roeder Loop, and further invented extra- and intracoporeal endoscopic knotting to achieve endoscopic hemostasis. His numerous technical inventions, especially the electronic insufflator, allowed more complex operations to be performed laparoscopically. His technique, however, was not quickly adopted by the surgical community. When the first fully laparoscopic appendectomy was carried out by Semm in 1980, a veritable storm broke loose. In the opinion of many prominent surgeons, Semm exaggerated the problem of adhesions, and laparoscopic technique itself was regarded as very dangerous. Misunderstood by medical scientists, Semm displayed an ability to force his ideas through despite skepticism and suspicion. He realized that endoscopic surgery had tremendous potential, and promoted laparoscopic technique not only in his field of gynecology but among general surgeons as well. In 1985, Muhe, of Boblingen, Germany, used Semm's technique to remove the first gallbladder in the world laparoscopically. Three years later when Semm presented a videotape of his laparoscopic appendectomy in Baltimore, he gave impetus to McKernan and Save of Marietta. Georgia, to carry out the first laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the United States.
- Kurt Semm and an automatic insufflator (1998)
- Work on tubal insufflation marked the beginning of Kurt Semm's (b. 1927) scientific career. In the early 1960s, he directed his attention to the fact that, from a technical standpoint, tubal insufflation was similar to creating pneumoperitoneum. In the mid-1960s, Semm - himself a gynecologist - invested his time and financial resources and risked his university career to develop an automatic abdominal insufflation device. Later he tried it out in the Clinic for Internal Medicine. Since, at that time, the term “laparoscopy” had negative connotations associated with it, Semm formulated a new term “pelviscopy.” In 1967, Semm presented his invention to Melvin Cohen, an American pioneer of gynecological laparoscopy, at the meeting of the American Fertility Society, held in Washington.
- Erich Mühe and the rejection of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (1985): a surgeon ahead of his time (1998)
- During the early 1980s, news of Semm's laparoscopic appendectomy was rippling through German medical circles. Erich Mühe, fascinated by Semm's technique and spurred by successes of the Erlangen endoscopists, came up with the idea of laparoscopic removal of gallstones. In 1984, Mühe had already worked out the details of an operative laparoscope, the “Galloscope,” and on September 12, 1985, he carried out the first laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Later, he modified his technique and operated through a trocar sleeve. Finally, he designed an “open laparoscope” with a circular light. By March 1987, Mühe had conducted 97 endoscopic gallbladder removals. He published information about his technique at the Congress of the German Surgical Society (April 1986) and at other surgical meetings in Germany. His concept, however, was ignored. In the middle of the 1980s, the surgical community was still not prepared for the era of “minimally invasive therapy.” Erich Mühe was a surgeon ahead of his time.