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     FOREVER SUSHRUTA SAMHITA

CONTRIBUTION OF THE SUSHRUTA SAMHITA

 

 

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 :

Susruta 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 diseases :

 

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 master.

 

Commentators –

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 –

 

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 him.

 

Two other commentaries available now in incomplete form are:

  1. Nyava candrika or brhat phanjika of Gayadasa (10th cent AD) for Nidana sthana only.
  2. Bhanumati of chkrapanidatta (11th cent AD) for Sutrasthana only.

Translations –

 

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 –

 

  1. 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.

  2. F. Hesslar has translated it into Latin in 1844 and into German in 1846 by J.A. Vullars.

  3.  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.

 


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