How Did People Do Surgery in Ancient Times?

Have you ever wondered how people performed surgeries in ancient times? It’s hard to imagine modern medicine without the sophisticated technologies and equipment we have access to today. However, our ancestors also had their own ways of performing surgeries that were primitive but effective for their time.

Ancient Egypt
One of the earliest civilizations known to practice surgery was Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians had a vast knowledge of anatomy and medicine, which allowed them to perform complex surgical procedures.

They used sharp bronze instruments to make incisions and were skilled at setting broken bones and treating infections. Mummification is a great example of the Egyptians’ surgical expertise, as they were able to preserve bodies for thousands of years through careful removal of organs.

Ancient Greece
The Greeks also made significant contributions to the field of surgery. Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine, introduced many surgical techniques that are still used today.

He believed in the importance of cleanliness during surgeries and advocated for washing hands and instruments before any procedure. The Greeks also used a variety of tools such as scalpels, forceps, and hooks to perform surgeries.


In Rome, surgeries were often performed by army surgeons who learned on the battlefield. They had to be quick and efficient in treating wounds sustained during battles. One notable surgeon from this time was Galen who advanced surgical knowledge through his experiments on animals.

The Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, surgery became associated with barbers who often performed minor procedures such as bloodletting or tooth extraction. However, major surgeries were still being performed by skilled physicians who used crude tools such as saws and knives.

  • The Renaissance
  • The Renaissance marked a significant shift in surgical practices with greater emphasis placed on scientific knowledge and anatomy.
  • Surgeons such as Andreas Vesalius conducted detailed studies of the human body, which improved surgical techniques.
  • Anesthesia was also introduced during this time period, making surgeries less painful for patients.


In conclusion, ancient surgery may seem primitive by today’s standards, but it was a significant step towards the modern techniques we use today. Despite the lack of sophisticated equipment and technology, our ancestors relied on their knowledge of anatomy and medicine to perform surgeries that were often successful. As we continue to advance in medical sciences, it’s important to remember and appreciate the contributions made by those who came before us.