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Introduction

Excavations have unearthed specialized surgical instruments dated as far back as the Mycenaean Period (e.g. Nafplias tomb), that reflect the highly sophisticated medical technology in ancient Greece. Cranial drills, instruments called ‘protectors of meninges’ (meningophylax: small plate inserted under a bone which was being cut in order to protect underlying structures), vaginal specula (colposcopes), arrow pullers, scalpels, forceps, hooks, cauterization and suture needles, catheters, eyelid retractors, etc. Ancient Greek physicians like Hippocrates of Kos (5th c. B.C.), Herophilos of Chalkidon (3rd c. B.C.), Galen of Pergamon (2nd c. B.C.) etc., used these instruments in order to perform sophisticated surgeries: trephinations, treatments of ophthalmic cataract, dental surgeries, such as complete and partial dentures, “Apollonian” (Cesarean) sections, even the placement of artificial limbs.