Diagnosis and Surgical Treatment of Abdominal Tumors (Classic Reprint)by Spencer Wells
The book which I have now written is in many respects a new work, though it may be called a fourth edition of the first published in 1865. Twenty years have entirely changed the boundaries of the subject. Before 1860, ovariotomy sometimes succeeded, as often failed, and was very generally discredited.
Excerpt from Diagnosis and Surgical Treatment of Abdominal Tumors
The book which I have now written is in many respects a new work, though it may be called a fourth edition of the first published in 1865. Twenty years have entirely changed the boundaries of the subject. Before 1860, ovariotomy sometimes succeeded, as often failed, and was very generally discredited. My first book was a record of cases, showing how difficulties were overcome, how principles were gradually brought into view, how rules of practice were established, and what results might be obtained. It silenced objections, and encouraged others to follow in the same course. My second book, in 1872, was no longer a plea for ovariotomy. An experience of 500 cases, which then seemed large, made me feel that, though I was still a learner, there was something I could usefully teach, and had no right to withhold. According to the views then held, I went into the diagnosis of ovarian disease and into the details of ovariotomy. There is evidence enough that my example and teaching were not unfruitful. Ten years more brought into the field many co-labourers who tilled the ground I had partially cleared, and no one is more ready than I am to acknowledge the value of what they have done, and to rejoice over the relief they have given to a multitude of sufferers. My own experience had more than doubled, some of my views had changed, in some respects my practice was modified, and I had information acquired from others to add to my own observations. The subject had expanded. Uterine pathology and surgery had been grafted upon that of the ovary, and my third book, in 1882, included both. Since that time the domain of abdominal surgery has not only spread over every abdominal organ, but has been taken possession of with equal zeal by the profession throughout the civilised world. The proof of this, so far as I am concerned, is that in less than two years a new edition of my last book is called for. I have adopted a new form, and issue it at a price which puts the information it contains at the command of every student. Suppression and condensation have enabled me to bring this work into smaller compass, and have also enabled me to make considerable additions on various conditions which call for the performance of abdominal section. Details which were interesting when novelties have been omitted. My time has been too fully taken up as a practical surgeon for me to do much as a pathological explorer.
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