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William Arbuthnot Lane (1856‐1943): Surgical Innovator and His Theory of Autointoxication

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William Arbuthnot Lane contributed to the advancement of many fields of orthopedics, otolaryngology, and general surgery. He is credited for his “no-touch technique” and the invention of long-handled instruments, some of which are still in use today, to minimize tissue handling. He is most well known for his hypothesis that slowing of gastric contents could cause a variety of ailments and this became known as Lane’s disease. Although his surgical treatment of Lane’s disease is now defunct, it advanced the surgical technique in colorectal surgery. It seems likely that some of Lane’s “autointoxication” patients would be classified today as patients with colonic inertia, diverticulitis, colonic volvulus, and megacolon or, which are all treated with colectomy. Lane was a pioneer in multiple fields and a true general surgeon. He advanced colorectal surgery immensely and propelled the field of surgery into a new era.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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