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Amputation saw, France, 1801-1900

This ingenious device was used to cut through the femur bone in the thigh. The forceps at the front are used to grip the bone and the double edged semi-circular saw can be moved forward or backward to be placed behind the bone. The saw is then moved from side to side using the ebony handle to cut through the bone. Made by Mathieu, a French surgical instrument maker, the handles are textured to improve grip.

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    Glossary: amputation saw

    Saw used for amputation. These tend to be instruments from the past, and were in common usage from c. 1500-1940 in Europe.

    Glossary: amputation

    Removal of part of, or a whole limb by surgery. Used to control pain or the spread of disease in the affected limb.

    Glossary: forceps

    A pliers-like medical instrument used to grasp tissue.

    Glossary: femur

    The thigh bone. It is the longest bone in the human body.