Surgery in History

Historical Events

  • 1686-11-18 Charles Francois Felix operates on King Louis XIV of France's anal fistula after practising the surgery on several peasants.
  • 1809-12-25 Physician Ephraim McDowell performs the first abdominal surgery in the U.S, an ovariotomy to remove a 22 lb ovarian tumor
  • 1840-02-01 Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, 1st in US, incorporated
  • 1865-08-12 Joseph Lister performs 1st antiseptic surgery
  • 1867-03-16 First publication of an article by Joseph Lister outlining the discovery of antiseptic surgery, in "The Lancet"

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1925-04-17 NY Yankee Babe Ruth has ulcer surgery

Baseball Legend Babe Ruth
Baseball Legend
Babe Ruth
  • 1925-05-26 Babe Ruth is finally out of bed, 5 weeks after ulcer surgery
  • 1935-11-12 Egas Moniz performs the first modern brain surgery on the frontal lobes to treat mental disorders, at Santa Marta Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal
  • 1944-11-29 The first surgery (on a human) to correct blue baby syndrome is performed by Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas.
  • 1954-07-03 US Open Women's Golf, Salem CC: Babe Didrikson-Zaharias wins by a record 12 strokes from Betty Hicks in her comeback event 14 months after radical colon cancer surgery

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1975-10-13 Rock vocal Neil Young undergoes throat surgery

Singer-songwriter Neil Young
Singer-songwriter
Neil Young
  • 1983-08-15 Ramones guitarist Joey Ramone beaten in fight-undergoes brain surgery
  • 1988-10-10 Royals announce that Dick Howser, who underwent surgery for a brain tumor in July, will return to manage the club in 1989
  • 1988-10-22 Supreme Ct Justice Sandra Day O'Connor OK after breast cancer surgery

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1990-04-27 Dodger Orel Hershiser undergoes career-threatening shoulder surgery

Baseball Pitcher Orel Hershiser
Baseball Pitcher
Orel Hershiser

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1992-01-27 Jane Fonda undergoes arthroscopic surgery on her right knee

Actress Jane Fonda
Actress
Jane Fonda

  • 1992-04-29 Country singer Doug Stone, 35, undergoes quadruple bypass surgery
  • 1992-07-14 Actress Nell Carter undergoes brain surgery
  • 1992-09-01 Tommy Smothers undergoes arthroscopic surgery

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1993-03-05 Boston Celtic Larry Bird undergoes backfusion surgery

NBA Legend Larry Bird
NBA Legend
Larry Bird

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1993-12-07 Robert Goulet undergoes prostate cancer surgery

Singer and Actor Robert Goulet
Singer and Actor
Robert Goulet

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1994-06-01 US General Norman Schwarzkopf released from hospital after prostate surgery

US General Norman Schwarzkopf
US General
Norman Schwarzkopf
  • 1994-09-12 Country singer George Jones undergoes triple bypass surgery
  • 1994-09-13 George Burns undergoes surgery to drain fluid from his brain

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1995-11-16 Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother undergoes hip surgery

Consort of George VI Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
Consort of George VI
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1997-03-14 President Clinton trips & injures his knee requiring surgery

42nd US President Bill Clinton
42nd US President
Bill Clinton
  • 1998-02-10 Olympic figure skater Peggy Fleming undergoes breast cancer surgery

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2014-09-09 Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, undergoes prostate surgery

2nd Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Hosseini Khamenei
2nd Supreme Leader of Iran
Ali Hosseini Khamenei
  • 2015-08-14 Most extensive face transplant surgery ever performed on Patrick Hardison by Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez at New York University Langone Medical Center
  • 2016-06-16 British MP (L) Jo Cox is shot and killed outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire
  • 2019-05-02 Drone delivers a kidney for transplant surgery in Baltimore, Maryland, for the first time

Famous Birthdays

  • 1560-06-25 Wilhelm Fabry, German surgeon (Father of German surgery), born in Hilden, Germany (d. 1634)
  • 1771-11-11 Ephraim McDowell, American physician and surgeon (pioneered abdominal surgery), born in Rockbridge, Virginia (d. 1830)
  • 1810-11-09 Bernhard von Langenbeck, German surgeon and founder of Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery, born in Padingb├╝ttel, Germany (d. 1887)
  • 1827-04-05 Joseph Lister, British surgeon (pioneer of antiseptic surgery), born in Upton House, West Ham, England (d. 1912)
  • 1872-11-03 Wilfred Trotter, English surgeon who was a pioneer in neurosurgery, popularized the concept of herd instinct, and was an authority in cancers of the head and neck, born in Coleford, Gloucestershire, England (d. 1939)

Person of interestLili Elbe

1882-12-28 Lili Elbe [born Einar Wegener], Danish transgender woman, former painter, and 1st identifiable recipient of sex reassignment surgery (autobiography: Man into Woman), born in Vejle, Denmark (d. 1931)

Painter and 1st Recipient of Gender-Reassignment Surgery Lili Elbe
Painter and 1st Recipient of Gender-Reassignment Surgery
Lili Elbe
  • 1914-04-19 Andrew Wilkinson, British pediatrician and the first Professor of Paediatric Surgery in the UK, born in Taunton, England (d. 1995)
  • 1915-07-01 Joseph Ransohoff, American neurosurgeon and pioneer in the modern neurosurgery, born in Cincinnati, Ohio (d. 2001)
  • 1935-04-25 April Ashley, English model and one of the earliest British people known to have had sex reassignment surgery, born in Liverpool
  • 1944-11-02 Keith Emerson, English rock musician (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), born in Todmorden, West Yorkshire (d. 2016)

Famous Deaths

  • 1634-02-15 Wilhelm Fabry, German surgeon (Father of German surgery), dies at 73
  • 1830-06-25 Ephraim McDowell, American physician and surgeon (pioneered abdominal surgery), dies at 58
  • 1887-09-29 Bernhard von Langenbeck, German surgeon and founder of Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery, dies at 76
  • 1912-02-10 Joseph Lister, British surgeon (pioneer of antiseptic surgery), dies at 84

Person of interestLili Elbe

1931-09-13 Lili Elbe [born Einar Wegener], Danish transgender woman, former painter, and 1st identifiable recipient of sex reassignment surgery (autobiography: Man into Woman), dies from complications involving a uterus transplant at 48

Painter and 1st Recipient of Gender-Reassignment Surgery Lili Elbe
Painter and 1st Recipient of Gender-Reassignment Surgery
Lili Elbe
  • 1933-05-15 Ernest Torrence, Scottish actor (I Cover the Waterfront, Hunchback of Notre Dame), dies from complications following surgery for gall stones at 54
  • 1934-03-21 Lilyan Tashman, American actress (Millie, Bulldog Drummond), dies following cancer surgery at 34
  • 1936-08-17 Pierre-Octave Ferroud, French composer (Surgery & Foules), dies at 36
  • 1939-11-25 Wilfred Trotter, English surgeon who was a pioneer in neurosurgery, popularized the concept of herd instinct, and was an authority in cancers of the head and neck, dies at 67
  • 1961-07-23 Esther Dale, actress (Birdie-Ma & Pa Kettle), dies after surgery at 75
  • 1967-01-10 Emerson Treacy, American actor (California Straight Ahead, Prowler), dies after surgery at 66
  • 1968-08-19 Sara Jane Roberts, child actress (Our Gang), dies after surgery at 44
  • 1969-04-03 Rex Evans, British actor (Frankenstein meets the Wolfman, Zara, Matchmaker), dies after surgery at 65
  • 1969-12-07 Hugh Williams, British dramatist, actor and writer (Wuthering Heights, Bank Holiday), dies after surgery at 65
  • 1972-05-31 Walter Freeman, American physician (developer and practitioner of psychiatric surgery transorbital lobotomy), dies
  • 1976-01-10 Howlin' Wolf [Chester Arthur Burnett], American blues musician (Smokestack Lightnin', Killing Floor), dies of complications during kidney surgery at 65
  • 1982-12-08 Marty Robbins, American country singer (Devil Woman, I Walk Alone), dies of complications following cardiac surgery.at 57
  • 1983-12-08 Slim Pickens [Louis Burton Lindley Jr], American rodeo performer and actor (Dr Strangelove, Blazing Saddles), dies following surgery at 64
  • 1985-05-02 Hal LeRoy, dancer/actor (Harold Teen), dies at 71 after surgery
  • 1986-04-23 Jim Laker, English cricket spin bowler (46 Tests; world best 19-90 4th Test v Australia 1956), dies from complications of gall bladder surgery at 64
  • 1988-01-01 Marcel Hillaire, German actor (Take the Money and Run, Seven Thieves), dies from surgery complications at 79
  • 1989-03-14 Edward Abbey (environmental author), dies after surgery at 62
  • 1989-11-29 Sir G O "Gubby" Allen, English cricket all-rounder (25 Tests; refused to bowl 'Bodyline' tactics 1932), dies of complications after stomach surgery at 87
  • 1991-06-09 Claudio Arrau, Chilean pianist (Boston Symphony Orchestra), dies following surgery at 88
  • 1993-06-05 Conway Twitty, country star (Linda on My Mind), dies in surgery at 59
  • 1995-08-18 Andrew Wilkinson, British pediatrician and the first Professor of Paediatric Surgery in the UK, dies at 81
  • 1995-11-13 Sir Robert Stephens, British actor (Uncle Kurt-Holocaust, Chaplin, QB VII, Cleopatra), dies from complications of surgery at 64
  • 2001-01-30 Joseph Ransohoff, American neurosurgeon and pioneer in the modern neurosurgery, dies at 85
  • 2006-01-16 Stanley Biber, American physician, pioneer of transgender surgery, (b. 1923)
  • 2008-08-05 Robert Hazard [Rimato], American singer-songwriter (Girls Just Want to Have Fun), dies after surgery at 59
  • 2009-05-04 Jane Randolph, American actress (Cat People, Railroaded!), dies of complications after hip surgery at 93
  • 2009-06-03 Koko Taylor [Cora Walton], American blues singer known as the "Queen of the Blues", dies of complications from surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding at 80
  • 2012-05-29 Doc Watson, American bluegrass musician, dies from complications following surgery at 89
  • 2013-03-06 Alvin Lee, English rocker, dies from complications from surgery at 68
  • 2013-06-18 Gene Freese, American MLB player, dies from complications of back surgery at 79
  • 2013-11-13 Todd Christensen, NFL player (Oakland) and sportscaster, dies from complications during liver transplant surgery at 57
  • 2013-11-26 Tony Musante, American actor (David Toma-Toma, Nowhere to Hide), dies from complications following surgery at 77
  • 2013-12-31 James Avery, American actor, dies from complications from surgery at 68
  • 2014-01-05 Jerry Coleman, American MLB 2nd baseman, dies from complications from brain bleeding and surgery at 89
  • 2014-05-03 Gary Becker, American economist (Nobel 1992) and recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom 2007, dies from complications following surgery at 83
  • 2014-07-17 Henry Hartsfield Jr, American astronaut, DIES FROM complications from back surgery at 80
  • 2014-11-26 Frankie Fraser, English gangster who spent 42 years in jail, dies of complications related to surgery at 90
  • 2017-05-03 Lukas Ammann, Swiss actor (Graf Yoster, Day of Anger, Class Reunion, Palace Hotel), dies of complications from surgery at 104
  • 2018-01-08 Denise LaSalle [Ora Denise Allen], American blues and R&B singer recognized as the "Queen of the Blues" (Trapped by a Thing Called Love), dies from complications from surgery at 78
  • 2018-03-12 Nole "Nokie" Edwards, American surf-rock guitarist (The Ventures) and actor (Deadwood), dies of complications following a surgery at 82
  • 2018-04-03 David Edgerton, American entrepreneur and founder of Burger King, dies of complications of surgery at 90
  • 2018-05-25 Bill Mallory, College Football coach (Miami, Colorado, Northern Illinois, Indiana), dies after brain surgery from a fall at 82