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Butcher-type amputation saw, London, England, 1850-1846

Known as a Butcher-type saw, this amputation saw has a bow frame to adjust the tension of the blade and a second rotating blade on the top of the frame that can cut at any angle. The fine blade is to prevent damage to the surrounding tissues. Developed in 1850 by Richard Butcher, the saw was originally intended to be used in an alternative to amputations known as re-sectioning knee and elbow joints. This can relieve pain and give some movement to the limb. This steel example was made by Mathews, a surgical instrument maker based in London.

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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.