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August 2019

Surgery. 1993 Sep; 114(3): 558-63.

Edwin Hartley Pratt and orificial surgery: unorthodox surgical practice in nineteenth century United States.

Rutkow IM.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark.

Among the more interesting yet bizarre chapters in the history of nineteenth century American medicine was the emergence of "orificial surgery" as a widely practiced specialty. This philosophy, the treatment of chronic disease through surgical operations on the rectum, vagina, cervix, urethra, nares, and mouth, evolved from the personal practice experiences of Edwin Hartley Pratt, a homeopathic general practitioner/surgeon. Through his salesmanship skills, Pratt was able to establish a field of surgery that maintained its own national society, in addition to publishing a widely distributed specialty journal.


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