Ambroise Pare

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Paré, Ambroise

(äNbrwäz` pärā`), c.1510–1590, French surgeon. Serving in the army, he revived the use of ligature instead of cautery with boiling oil and continued to devise and champion more humane treatments in medicine. He promoted the use of artificial limbs and introduced podalic version in childbirth, i.e., the manipulation of the fetus so that it is delivered feet first. He was surgeon to four kings of France, and his works were widely translated.


See bibliography of his works by J. Doe (1937).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Paré, Ambroise


Born 1517 (according to some data, 1509 or 1510) in Bourg-Hersent, near the city of Laval; died Dec. 20, 1590, in Paris. French surgeon of the Renaissance.

Paré did not receive an academic education and belonged to the barbers’ guild. In 1563 he became surgeon to the king and head of the surgical department of Hôtel Dieu.

In 1537 Paré replaced the practice of cauterizing wounds with balsam—a boiling resinous solution—by the method of applying oil and egg yolk to wounds and bandaging them with clean cloth. In 1557 he replaced the practices of cautery, torsion, and compression of blood vessels by the method of ligation and thereby decreased the incidence of hemorrhages. His works on gunshot wounds, trephination of the skull, and other subjects are well-known. Paré was the first to describe, in 1552, fracture of the neck of the femur and its treatment. He improved the methodology of amputation of limbs and proposed a number of complex orthopedic prostheses, including artificial limbs and joints. He restored the obstetrical practice of podalic version, which had been forgotten for centuries.

The work of Paré and of his successors and their contemporaries, including F. Würtz in Switzerland and W. Fabry (Fabricius Hildanus) in Germany, led to the transformation of surgery during the 17th and 18th centuries from a craft to a scientific medical discipline.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.