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Spencer Wells-type obstetrics clamp, Paris, France, 1870-190

Science Museum, London


Free to use with attribution CC BYCredit: Science Museum, London
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This obstetric clamp was invented by Thomas Spencer Wells (1818-1897), an English gynaecologist who developed a number of clamps for blood vessels. The handles are textured for improved grip. Spencer Wells also did much to popularise ovariotomy. He performed 440 ovariotomies between 1858 and 1871 with a 75 per cent success rate, a figure which increased after he began using antisepsis techniques. Ovariotomy was a procedure used not only for cysts and tumours but also controversially for hysteria. The instrument was made by Collin, a surgical instrument maker based in Paris, France. This item came from the surgical instrument makers, now called Charrière, Collin and Gentile, who sold their collection in 1978. maker: Collin and Company Place made: Paris, Ville de Paris, Île-de-France, France


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Spencer Wells-type obstetrics clamp, Paris, France, 1870-190. Credit: Science Museum, London. CC BY

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