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Lister-type tourniquet, London, England, 1866-1927

This tourniquet was used during surgery to compress the abdominal aorta, the largest artery in the abdomen. It was invented by Joseph Lister (1827-1912), the pioneer of antisepsis, while he was working at the Royal Infirmary Glasgow. One of the pads is fixed and the other is easily adjustable. It was not uncommon for surgeons to invent new instruments to aid their work, prototypes of which were manufactured for them by instrument makers such as Arnold & Sons (who made this example). Lister abandoned the tourniquet after a number of modifications because it damaged other internal organs, such as the bowel, when in use.

Object number:

A41383

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Glossary:

Glossary: antisepsis

The practice of using antiseptic drugs to eliminate harmful micro-organisms.

Glossary: tourniquet

Designed to compress the blood vessels of a limb. It consists of a bandage, pad and screw. By varying the tightness of the tourniquet, it is possible to control the circulation of blood for a short time.