Pathology Spotlight: Ovarian Dermoid Cyst

  The specimen is a tumour called a dermoid cyst which was found on an ovary.  It can be seen to contain skin with sebaceous and sweat glands which are normal elements of skin, five well-formed teeth and a few long silky hairs. The mechanism by which germ cells with the capacity to grow into…

Flesh for the Wise

Our Human Remains Conservator Cat Irving takes a look at the history of wax models in the teaching of anatomy and embryology. In common with many institutions in Europe that taught anatomy, Surgeons’ Hall holds a collection of teaching models made from wax. These models have a long history, originating with a Sicilian named Zumbo. After…

A Tale of Two Surgeons

Last week we put out a call for memorabilia and objects from women in surgery and the response so far has been encouraging. The following story from Mr Graham Fraser F.R.C.S. (Ed,Eng, C.) F.A.C.S. is a beautiful example of the personal experiences of women in surgery that we are looking to showcase. Graham Fraser was…

Pathology Spotlight- Emphysema

Not all the tissue specimens in the museum collection are in jars. This is a section, about the thickness of a human hair, of a whole human lung mounted dry on paper. This type of section was invented by Professor Jethro Gough and his assistant James E Wentworth in the Welsh School of Medicine in…

Pathology Spotlight- Mycetoma

The above specimen is a vertical section through a foot suffering from  mycetoma, with the toes at the top of the specimen and the heel at the bottom.  Mycetoma is an infection of the skin that has spread into the underlying bones and tissues. It can affect any part of the body, but is most…

Pathology Spotlight: A Historic Black Lung

The specimen shows Coalworker’s Pneumoconiosis or ‘Black Lung’, the scarring lung disease caused by inhaling the dust produced in coalmines. In the 19th century a burgeoning British coal-mining industry supplied fuel for the Industrial Revolution and by the 1830s, around 200,000 British miners were producing 36 million tons of coal per year. It seems obvious…

A Quest for Healing: Contemporary Art by Zhang Yanzi

In April, Surgeons’ Hall Museums opened its newest temporary exhibition ‘A Quest for Healing.’ Created by award-winning Chinese artist Zhang Yanzi, this contemporary art exhibition is the first of its kind to be shown at the museums.   Zhang Yanzi completed a residency in Edinburgh during 2017, where she became inspired by Surgeons’ Hall Museums,…

Pathology Spotlight: Gas Gangrene and Trench Warfare

This specimen comes from a soldier who was injured by a gunshot wound to the left knee in France during August 1917. Much of the trench warfare in France and Flanders during the first world war took place in what had been cultivated fields that would be fertilised with horse manure, meaning that soil would…

Pathology Spotlight: A Holey Kidney

The figure shows the cut surface of a kidney revealing dozens of cysts, like bubbles, visible at the cut surface. Polycystic kidney disease (PCKD) is a genetic disorder characterized by the development of numerous cysts of varying size, averaging about 1,000 per kidney. PCKD cysts, which are filled with urine, can enlarge the kidneys, obliterating…

Pathology Spotlight- Bones from Barclay

This specimen comes from the collection of John Barclay, and shows a lower leg where the tibia has fractured, but the bone has not united forming a ‘false joint’ where the two opposing surfaces of the fracture have spread to accommodate one another. Use of the limb following this injury has caused the fibula to…