Sylva chirurgiae, in tres libros divisa

Frankfurt, sumptibus Jacobi de Zetter : typ. H. Palthenii, 1625.

£2,750

FIRST EDITION thus. pp. [xvi], 405, [xxxv]. Two suites of engraved plates, 38 in books II, 34 in book III. ):(⁸ A-2D⁸ 2E⁴. Roman letter with some Italic. Title within fine engraved border with surgical instruments, saws, clysters, alembics etc, seventy-two full-page engraved plates on thirty-six leaves, small woodcut initials, woodcut headpieces, bibliographical notes in pencil on fly. Age yellowing with some browning, the odd marginal mark or spot. A very good copy in late C17th red morocco, covers bordered with triple gilt rules, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, gilt ruled in compartments, richly gilt with scrolled tools and central fleurons, edges gilt ruled, inner dentelles gilt, combed marbled endpapers, all edges gilt.

Rare first Latin translation of this most interesting and important surgical work, finely illustrated with numerous plates of surgical instruments, translated from Italian by Peter Uffenbach. The sylva, containing many fine illustrations of surgical instruments and medicinal distillation apparatus and procedures, was originally published in two parts in Italian in 1596. Here it is divided into three, the first with many practical observations on surgery, the second part on medical instruments, and the third on distillations and the instruments used. Gabrielle Ferrara is particularly remembered now for his remarkably effective and modern technique in treating peripheral nerves. “Surgery of the peripheral nerves has only recently achieved brilliant results thanks to technological advances in the development of neurosurgical instrumentation. In past centuries, few surgeons made relevant contributions to this topic and improvement was slow and difficult. Avicenna, Guglielmo da Saliceto, and Guido Lanfranchi reported some attempts to suture nerves directly, but Gabriele Ferrara was the first to give a lucid and succinct description of suturing of the stumps of a transected nerve.” Marco Artico.

“The first detailed description on the repair of transected nerve trunks was recorded by Gabriele Ferrara in the 16th century (Ferrara, 1596). He described applying gentle traction to the retracted nerve stumps, suturing using an alcohol disinfected needle, and finally, insulating the sutured segment with a mixture of oils. The injured limb was later immobilised to prevent damaging the suture. The whole procedure closely resembles modern surgical protocol, which includes disinfection, appropriate identification of injured nerve trunk, correct suturing technique, and wound immobilization.” Di Wu. “The Significance of the Mirna Pathway in Peripheral Nerve Regeneration.”

The work is also significant for its description of surgical instruments and the illustrations give tremendous insight into late sixteenth century surgery. It includes many illustrations of dental instruments. A very good copy of this important and rare medical work.

BM STC Ger. C17th F389. Durling 1492 [1st edition only] Duveen 213-4 [Italian edns only]. Krivatsy 4030. Not in Wellcome.

L2599

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