Frere Come's single bladed lithotome, c 1780.
2 8 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 20cm

Frere Come's single bladed lithotome, c 1780.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


An instrument with a curved blade and a spring-loaded bulbous mahogany handle, posibly made by Eanis. The lithotome was inserted up the urethra into the bladder. Its blade was then moved to grip small bladder stones, or to cut up larger ones so they could be pased out. It was a dangerous and painful operation and, without anaesthetic, speed was vital. Dr William Cheselden (1688-1752) could perform the procedure in les than a minute.

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