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Screw-shaped mouth gag, Europe, 1880-1920

Made from boxwood, this simple screw-shaped mouth gag would be inserted into the mouth as a means of keeping it open. This could be for a number of reasons, most notably to keep open the airways of a patient who has been anaesthetised.

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Glossary: mouth gag

device for preventing the mouth from being closed which permits the passage of the hand or an easily damaged piece of equipment such as a rubber stomach tube.

Glossary: anaesthetic

An agent that causes insensitivity to pain. Applied to either the whole body (general anaesthetic) or a particular area or region (local anaesthetic).