Syme’s Amputation

In this latest blog our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, takes a look at James Syme and how his pioneering technique helped shape the surgical world. James Syme (1799-1870) was one of the leading surgeons of his day, whom it was said “He never unnecessarily wasted a word, drop of ink or blood.” Active during the…

Pathology Spotlight- Vitamin D Deficiency: Osteomalacia and Rickets

Bones are made principally from a combination of the protein collagen (30%) and the calcium-based mineral hydroxyapatite (70%). Inadequate production of the mineral portion of bone can lead to soft bones, a condition called osteomalacia. The usual cause is a deficiency in vitamin D, which is required to absorb calcium from the diet. Vitamin D…

An Army That Cannot Bite Cannot Fight

In our latest blog, guest author Iain MacLeod takes a look at a British War Office issued dental stoppings (fillings) kit from our collection and tells us why it is so remarkable. Amongst the museum archive collections of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is a small wooden box containing the equipment required to…

Pathology Spotlight: Brain Aneurysm

Our Human Remains Conservator takes a look at Brain Aneurysms in our latest Pathology Spotlight blog.   The walls of our arteries and veins are composed of three layers,  with varying amounts of elasticity to respond to the pulses of blood that come from the heart’s regular beating. Sometimes areas of the wall can become thin…

Pathology Spotlight: Galeazzi Fracture of the Radius

In February’s Pathology Spotlight, Professor Ken Donaldson, Senior Research Fellow in the Museum takes explains Galeazzi Fractures.   The radius, the forearm bone that connects to the thumb, has been broken by trauma near its end (arrow) and the hand is deflected upwards. The ulna has retained its position but the forced lateral and upward…

Medical Miscellany

Guest author Iain Macleod, retired consultant and honorary clinical senior lecturer in dental & maxillofacial radiology, tells us more about an object in our Collection that once belonged to his father. In the early 1950’s my late father, Dr Ian R. Macleod, was conscripted into the army as part of “national service”. As a doctor,…

Pathology Spotlight: Horse-Shoe Kidney

Sometimes during development the lower ends of the foetal kidneys fuse together, resulting in one u-shaped organ, rather than the normal pair of kidneys lying either side of the spine. This is known as a horse-shoe kidney, or ren arcuatus. The fusion usually takes place between weeks 7 and 9 of development. The horse-shoe kidney…

Pathology Spotlight: Onychogryphosis

Onychogryphosis, or Ram’s Horn Nail, is a condition in which there is abnormal nail growth. It causes the nail to become very overgrown, often resembling a ram’s horn, as the name suggests. While it can affect any nail of the fingers and toes, it is most commonly seen in big toe. There is no singular…

Putting a Face to the Name: Robert the Bruce

With the release of Netflix’s ‘The Outlaw King’ there has been a piqued interest in Robert the Bruce. In this blog, Dr Iain Macleod, retired consultant and honorary clinical senior lecturer in dental & maxillofacial radiology, tells us about the process of putting a face to this famous name.  On the morning of Friday, 5th November 1819…

Pathology Spotlight: A Tibia with Osteomyelitis

In this month’s Pathology Spotlight we take a look at Osteomyelitis.   This specimen is one of the best known in Surgeons’ Hall Museums, where it is featured in its own display case. It is a tibia bone from an Edinburgh-born sailor called Charles Anderson. In 1814, aged 17 years, Anderson was sailing in the Baltic…

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…

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…