The Sir Frederick Treves Memorial Hall - Surgery of the Appendix

frederick treves

Sir Frederick Treves (1853-1923)

One of my greatest memories as a child was of the wax models of appendectomy made by Mayo Clinic for the 1932 World's Fair in Chicago. There were, apparantly two copies made, and when I was growing up in the 1960's I had access to both sets, one in the Mayo Medical Museum, in Rochester, Minnesota, and the other in the Medical Wing of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Sadly, the Mayo Medical Museum closed in 1983, and the Museum of Science and Industry no longer displays the models. There is an excellent blog at the Mayo Historical Unit about the preservation of these wonderful exhibits.


"closure of the wound" Mayo Medical Librarnies, click image to go to Mayo Historical Unit

I studied and memorized these models (there were also models of a tonsillectomy, which, curiously, interested me not at all). I believed as a ten year old that, should the acute need arise, that I was ready to remove an inflamed appendix.

Now that I have removed a few thousand inflamed appendices, I find that I am still learning and refining my technique. I still vividly recall those models, and a lot of what I do is based upon principals of surgery enshrined by the Mayo's in those models, but the advent of laparoscopy, and the ability to see, correct that, the ability for everyone in the room to see, with the scope has made surgery of the appendix, and surgery in general, a more collaborative affair.

There are two primary methods for removing the appendix - the "open" or traditional method, and the laparoscopic or "band aid" technique. Each Method offers advantages and disadvantages that I will discuss in the results section of Treves Hall

A Fun Place to Visit!!!

life and death

In the 1980's there was a great virtual surgery game called "Life and Death" that included performing a virtual appendectomy. For a really fun time, and to test what you've learned here, click the game picture to go to a download site