AN ancient Indian surgeon dating back to almost 2,500 years ago, Sushruta made numerous contributions to the field of surgery. Sushruta is regarded as the father of surgery. He authored the book Sushruta Samhita in which he described over 300 surgical procedures, 120 surgical instruments and classified human surgery in eight categories. He lived, taught and practised his art on the banks of the Ganges called Varanasi in North India.
Some of his contributions include surgical demonstration of techniques of making incisions, probing, extraction of foreign bodies, alkali and thermal cauterisation, tooth extraction, excisions, etc. He also described removal of the prostate gland, urethral, hernia surgery, caesarian section, etc. He classified details of the six types of dislocations, twelve varieties of fractures and classification of the bones and their rection to the injuries. He has written about 76 signs of various eye diseases, symptoms, prognosis, medical/surgical interventions and cataract surgery. There is also description of method of stitching the intestines by using ant-heads as stitching material. He even introduced wine to minimise the pain of surgical incisions.
Sushruta details about 650 drugs of animal, plant, and mineral origin. Other chapters in Sushruta Samhita put emphasis on the well-being of children and expectant mothers. Sushruta has also detailed about symptoms of poisoning, first-aid measures, and long-term treatment, as well as classification of poisons and methods of poisoning. The Sushruta Samhita was translated into Arabic and later into Persian. These translations have helped the spread of science of Ayur Veda far beyond India.