10 Chilling Ancient Medical Treatments

medieval medical instruments

5. Cataract Removal


First recorded as being performed by the Hindu Indian surgeon Sushruta, it is also mentioned in the Bible and other Hindu records. Sushruta did not remove the cataracts at first but simply slit the eye so that he could drag the cataract down and the patient would sometimes expel it through the nasal cavity. Later, Muslim ophthalmologist Ammar ibn Ali developed the first syringe and sucked the cataracts out of the eyes. The patients would be unable to see clearly before glasses were developed but could see better than with cataracts.

Do you want to know if you are developing cataracts? At night, cover one eye and look at a streetlight. Cover the other eye and look at a street light. If you see a halo around the light with one eye and not the other, check in with your ophthalmologist.

4. Hemorrhoids Treatment


For those who do not know, a hemorrhoid is when part of the intestine has been forced out of the anus and becomes inflamed. Amazingly, hemorrhoids have their very own saint. Saint Fiacre is the patron saint of hemorrhoids. As he was farming his land one day, the pain of his hemorrhoids became so uncomfortable that he sat on a rock and prayed for relief. He was instantly cured and it is said that his hemorrhoids left marks on the stone, which are still there to this very day. Thousands of people come and sit on the hemorrhoid stone and pray every year.

The treatment for hemorrhoids was, at one time, very often worse than the hemorrhoids themselves. The patient was laid over a stone and the physician would grab the hemorrhoid between his fingernails and snatch them off. If this did not do the trick, they would heat an object shaped like a stick with a flat end and burn the hemorrhoid off. Let me see a show of hands of everyone here who would undergo that hemorrhoid treatment. Anyone? Anyone at all? I did not think so.

3. Trepanning


While this might be the oldest form of surgery, you do not need a hole in your head to figure out what a bad idea this is. The cave dwellers did it to repair head wounds and relieve themselves of evil spirits. Now, it is only done to relieve pressure on the brain after a head wound, unless, of course, you are one of those growing number of people seeking enlightenment.

There are still people around who drill holes in their heads just for the sensation they “claim” to get afterwards. Maybe they are right. Who knows, in twenty years we could all be walking around with our brains in a jar helmet filled with fluid–being enlightened?

2. Anal Fistula


medieval-procedures-anal-fistula2John Arderne has a title that most people would avoid like the plaque. He is known as the Father of Proctology among his peers. To regular people, that means he is the Pop of the poop chute, King of the crapper, Prince of the poo-hole. Yes, he is the daddy of Assholes, if you will pardon my French. Dr. Arderne is the first successful specialist in anal fistula surgery. The tools that he uses in this endeavor look so scary that I would run screaming from the office and enjoy my fistula.

By the way, an anal fistula is a pus-filled area that eventually surfaces like a boil. They are very painful and can occur in numbers. They are created when the anal gland is blocked, damaged, or infected.

1. Hernia Surgery


If you are a man, an Inguinal Hernia is just about one of the worst things you could do to yourself. The area of the inguinal hernia is in the lower abdomen and encompasses the groin area. A hernia is a protrusion of the abdominal cavity contents into the inguinal canal, which is a canal or space just above and to the right or left of and between the penis (or urethra, in a female) and cremasteric muscle. (Top of the nut) In other words, in the “happy place”…, you know–man land, home of the twins. It is not very much fun when a loop of intestines drops in to visit those two nutty ball-players. The prospect of having surgery there is about as inviting as, oh…say, being invited to skin yourself alive with a dull spoon and pour honey and salt all over your raw muscle while you play in an ant bed that is next to a hornets nest.

The surgeon, the best being the father of modern day hernia surgery, Edoardo Bassini, would cut into the lower abdomen and separate all the inner workings there to expose the canal. He would push the intestines back into the upper cavity and rebuild the canal wall. It was an amazing leap into the future of modern surgery considering it was the 1800’s and the survival rate before him was next to nothing. Thank you Dr. Bassini! The amusement park known as man–land is open for business and the rides are as good as new!

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