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DIEFFENBACH, Johann Friedrich (1792-1847)

Die operative Chirurgie. Erster - Zweiter Band.
Leipzig, F. A. Brockhaus, 1845-1848.

First edition of Dieffenbach’s most comprehensive work – his surgical testament. Dieffenbach of Königsberg first studied medicine for Burdach and von Baer in Königsberg and then moved to Bonn where he prepared himself for his future career under the teaching of Phillip von Walther, and in 1821 went to France where Dupuytren and Larrey gave him special advantages. Returning to Germany he took his MD in Würzburg in 1822. His doctor’s dissertation on regeneration and transplantation of tissues, already shows his leaning toward plastic surgery. He then moved to Berlin and began concentrate on plastic and reconstructive surgery. He was surgeon at the Charité Hospital and in 1840 succeeded Carl Ferdinand Graefe as professor and director of the surgical clinic in Berlin. Dieffenbachs first work entirely devoted to plastic surgery was the four-volume work Chirurgische Erfahrungen with an atlas (1829-34). In 1841 came Ueber die Durchschneidung der Sehnen und Muskeln, describing 140 cases of treatment for clubfoot, and in 1842 his Ueber das Schielen und die Heilung desselben durch eine Operation describing the first successful attempt at treating strabismus by means of myotomy. Dieffenbach was also the first to introduce ether anaesthesia for plastic operations. His Die Aether gegen den Schmerz (1847) helped bring about the early acceptance of anaesthesia in Germany. Most of his contributions to clinical surgery were summed up in his classic two-volume Operative Chirurgie, which second volume was published posthumously edited by his nephew after his sudden death in 1847. It is his most comprehensive work, covering in addition to reconstructive procedures, virtually all other types of procedures including amputations, paracentesis, laparotomy, hysterectomy, dental extractions, etc. (Garrison-Morton). Dieffenbach’s biographer, Richard Lampe, calls him ”The Father of Plastic Surgery” and Gnudi & Webster his work for ”monumental in its variety, inventiveness and breadth of scope.”

Collation: Vol. I: pp xxvi, 856; vol. II: pp xxiv, 864.

Binding: Two volumes. Contemporary half calf with gilt decorated spine with red spine labels. A very fine copy!

Provenance: O(lof) Glas (1813-1880) professor i praktisk medicin vid Uppsala universitet, prefekt vid Akademiska sjukhuset, intendent vid Sätra brunn, ledamot av Svenska Läkaresällskapet, Vetenskapssocieteten, Vetenskapsakademien och Riddare av Kungliga Nordstjärneorden.

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