CONTRIBUTION OF THE
Contribution of Susruta to the science of
surgery and medicine are many and most valuable. Among these the following
are the most significant.
1. Human dissection :
was the first medical man in the ancient world advocated and brought into
practice the dissection of the human cadaver by students of surgery. “ This
certainly was the oldest lesson in dissection known to history”. Although
the procedure adopted by him was crude, the very idea that in 1000 BC.
Practical anatomical study was considered important. It is by itself a most
noteworthy contribution of Susruta. His description of different parts of
the body such as the skin, muscles, bones, blood vessels, tissues, special
spots of surgical importance etc. reflect the sound knowledge of the
surgeons of those days.
2. Surgical techniques and procedures
Susruta describes eight kinds of surgical
techniques which have withstood the test of time. All operative manoeuveres
carried out by the present day surgeon involves one or more of these
techniques only and not anything beyond these.
Susruta is the first person to evolve and
introduce Experimental surgery, for training students. This came to vogue in
western countries only after 17th cent AD.
Susruta’s division of surgical activity
into three parts viz-preperative, operative and post-operative-is based on
sound scientific principles. His description of surgical wound , procedure
of treating it, care and management of the wounded are exemplary.
Para-surgical methods such as cauterisation, blood letting etc. were being
carried out to minimize the risk of surgery.
Susruta was the pioneer in fabricating
surgical instruments. His methods
of naming the instruments on resemblance of
face of many animals and birds is being adopted even now. He is the first to
introduce tubular instruments for diagnosis of diseases, which are
considered as forerunners of “endoscopic instruments”,of the present day. He
has described the merits and demerits of all instruments, their proper
maintainance and correct method of use etc. which reflect his expertise.
3. Foreign body removal and battle field surgery :
Susruta’s knowledge of accidental wounds
caused by weapons and other foreign bodies, methods of removing these and
treating the wounded in the battlefield were the most appropriate. Though
some of the surgical feats done in the battle field appear to be crude in
the eyes of the present day surgeons, these were the ideal methods in the
battle field of those days.
4. Reconstructive surgery :
Most significant contribution of Susruta is
in the field of reconstructive surgery (plastic surgery) . His method of
reconstructing multilated nose ( rhinoplasty) ear (otoplasty) and lip (oroplasty)
are the most ingenious methods.
Among these Susruta’s methods of
rhinoplasty was highly appreciated and adopted by surgeons of western
countries under the name “ Indian method”during the 18th cent AD. It was
hailed as the greatest scientific achievement of ancient India.
5. Special surgery –:
Susruta has described surgical treatment
for ples and fistula. Urinary calculus (anorectal surgery). Obstructed and
dead foetus (obstretical surgery including Caesarian section), intestinal
obstruction and injury to abdominal visera (laporatomy).fractures, and
diseases of the eyes (ophthalmic surgery) and many more.
6. Evolution and classification of
Susruta knowledge extended even to other
aspects of medical science. He has described the dosas,dhatus, ojas, mala
etc.both in their normal and abnormal aspects, causes of diseases and their
evolution in six stages, a comprehensive classification of all diseases
affecting man, methods to prevent diseases and preserve health etc.With
such wonderful achievements in the domain of surgery, Susruta is now- a-days
called the “ Father of Surgery”. But strictly speaking this honour should go
to this preceptor, Divodasa, since Susruta is only a mouthpiece of his
Considering the importance of Susruta
samhita and its popularity many scholars have written commentaries on it in
Sanskrit and other languages.
Unfortunately many commentators are lost
and few are available in mutilated and incomplete condition. So far about 19
commentators are known, having been mentioned by Dalhana and so earlier 12th
cent AD. The only ancient commentary available now in full and in print is
that of Dalhana.
Dalhana was son of Bharatapala, belonging
to Suryavamsi brahmana family, residing at Ankola in Bhadanaka region near
Mathura. He was the physician in the court of the king Sahanapala of Yadava
dynasty who was reigning in the latter half of 12th cent AD.
Dalhana (about 1200 AD) was a great scholar
widely read is evident from the large number of authors and texts quoted by
Two other commentaries available now in
incomplete form are:
Nyava candrika or brhat phanjika of
Gayadasa (10th cent AD) for Nidana sthana only.
Bhanumati of chkrapanidatta (11th cent
AD) for Sutrasthana only.
Susruta samhita has attracted the attention
of scholars of other countries also from early days and has been translated
into many other languages. Some such important ones are –
Ibn_Abila_sibal (9th cent AD) translated
it into Arabic under the name “Kitab sashool-e-Hind” or “
Kitab-e-Susrud”. This has been reffered to by Al- Rhazi(Rhazes) the famous
physician”.as an authority of surgery.
F. Hesslar has translated it into Latin
in 1844 and into German in 1846 by J.A. Vullars.
Some sections of the text have been
translated to English by U.C. Dutta in 1883, A. Chattopadhyaya in 1891 and
F.R. Hoernle in 1897. English translation of the full text has been done
by Kunjalal Bhishagratna (1907) and G.D. Singhal et. aal-1981-84: P.V.
Sharma along with commentary of Dalhana 1999. and K.R. Srikanthamurthy
(2000) are being published.