Evidence of Amputation as Medical Treatment in Ancient Egypt
Abbreviated Journal Title
Int. J. Osteoarchaeol.
Egypt; Dayr al-Barsha; amputation; trauma; diabetes; leprosy; prosthesis; medicine & surgery; IDIOPATHIC SKELETAL HYPEROSTOSIS; DIABETES-MELLITUS; LEPROSY; PROSTHESIS; RISK; TOE; Anthropology; Archaeology
The use of surgical techniques in ancient Egyptian medicine has only been suggested indirectly through ancient medical texts and iconography, and there is no evidence of amputation as a means of therapeutic medical treatment. This paper presents four cases of amputation from the archaeological site of Dayr al-Barsha, Egypt. Two of the cases (dated to the First Intermediate and Middle Kingdom periods, respectively) are from individuals that display bilateral amputations of the feet, one through the metatarso-phalangeal joints, the other a transmetatarsal amputation. The exact reason for the amputation, perhaps from trauma or disease, is unknown. The particular healing patterns of the distal ends of the amputations suggest these individuals used foot binding or prosthetic devices. Another case represents a healed amputation of the left ulna near the elbow, dated to the Old Kingdom. The final case represents a perimortem amputation of the distal end of the right humerus. The exact date of this individual is unknown, but most likely pertains to the Old Kingdom or First Intermediate period. This individual seems to have suffered a traumatic incident shortly before death, sustaining many fractures, including a butterfly fracture on the right humerus. Several cut marks were identified on top of the butterfly fracture, indicating amputation of the arm at this point. All four cases support the hypothesis that the ancient Egyptians did use amputation as a therapeutic medical treatment for particular diseases or trauma. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
"Evidence of Amputation as Medical Treatment in Ancient Egypt" (2010). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 127.