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Serrenoeud, London, England, 1885-1896

A serrenoeud is used to tighten a ligature during surgery. This was a step towards safer hysterectomy as the abdominal cavity could be completely closed off, allowing the surgical stump to be pierced safely without causing heavy bleeding. The serrenoeud may have been invented by Eugenè Koeberlé (1828-1915), a gynaecologist who introduced the procedure to France in 1862. The instrument was made by C Wright and Co, a surgical instrument maker based in London.

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Glossary: hysterectomy

The operation of removing the uterus, through either the abdominal wall or the vagina.

Glossary: ovariotomy

The operation of removing one or both of the ovaries

Glossary: serrenoeud

An instrument for tightening a ligature

Glossary: ligature

A thread or string for tying the blood vessels, particularly the arteries, to prevent bleeding. The word ‘ligature’ can also refer to the action or result of binding or tying, e.g. the ligature of an artery.

Glossary: gynaecology

A branch of medicine dealing with the treatment of disorders affecting the female reproductive system.

Glossary: abdomen

Part of the body located below the chest. It contains the digestive organs (stomach, kidneys, intestines, liver, etc). In women it also contains the ovaries and uterus.