Laparoscopic Surgery, a small history

Like many life changing inventions, it is difficult to credit one individual for pioneering the laparoscopic approach. In 1902 Georg Kelling, of Dresden is said to have performed the first laparoscopic procedure on dogs and in 1910 Hans Christian of Sweden reported the first laparoscopic operation in humans.

Individual contributions from Raoul Palmer, Frangenheim, Kurt Semm and many others have further popularized the approach on laparoscopy through the years. What revolutionized the scene was the introduction of computer chip television camera resolution. This innovative technology provided the tools to see inside the human body and at the same time freed both the operating surgeon’s hands, thereby giving a chance to perform complex laparoscopic procedures.

Prior to its popularity, laparoscopy was a surgical approach with very limited application and used mainly for purposes of diagnosis and performance of simple procedures usually for gynecologic applications.

Here is a timeline of some the notable advances in this field:

– The first publication on Diagnostic Laparoscopy by Raoul Palmer, appeared in the early 1950s, followed by the publication of Frangenheim and Kurt Semm.

– In 1972, Clarke patented, presented and recorded on film laparoscopic surgery, with instruments marketed by the Ven Instrument Company of Buffalo, New York, USA.

– In 1975, Tarasconi, from the Department of Ob-Gyn of the University of Passo Fundo Medical School started his experience with an organ resection by Laparoscopy (Salpingectomy) and later published in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine in 1981.

– In 1981, Semm, from the Universitats Frauenklinik, Kiel, Germany, did his first Laparoscopic Appendectomy.

Following his lecture on Laparoscopic Appendectomy, the President of the German Surgical Society wrote to the Board of Directors of the German Gynecological society suggesting suspension of Kurt Semm from medical practice. Subsequently, Semm submitted a paper on Laparoscopic Appendectomy to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which was rejected as unacceptable for publication on the ground that the technique was branded as ‘unethical.’

Dr. Nandakishore Dukkipati firmly believes that Kurt Semm hasn’t received enough accolades for his contributions to this field. Semm’s techniques are some of the standard procedures regularly performed nowadays, for ovarian cyst enucleation, myomectomy, treatment of ectopic pregnancy and laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy or Cervical intra-fascial Semm hysterectomy.

Thanks to dedicated doctors and researchers much like Semm, we are able to use and find more scope for laparoscopy. Now a common procedure in bariatric surgery, laparoscopic methods are used for more effective, and timely weight loss surgery.

“He developed a medical instrument company Wisap in Munich, Germany, which still produces various endoscopic instruments of high quality. His published papers, endoscopic films and more than 20,000 colored slides are still used to teach and inform students of medicine in US,” commented Dr. Dukkipati.

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