Object of the Month: Teaching the art of cystoscopy with the Bladder Phantom

29 November 2019

Every month, an EAU History Office member chooses an item of particular interest from the European Museum of Urology. This instrument was chosen by Dr Friedrich Moll, Urologist at the University of Cologne Medical Centre, medical historian and curator of the collections of the DGU.

I chose to highlight this instrument as it emphasises teaching in early urology. We may believe that medical education is a modern phenomenon but this bladder phantom does not differ greatly from equivalent models seen on the training courses of today.

The introduction of practicable cystoscopy by Maximilian Nitze (1848-1906) changed the possibilities to look inside the body enormously. Previously, with the older instruments (from Bozzini to Desormeaux) this was a rare and difficult procedure.

The new technique of visualization of the human cavities meant a big step in the formation of the specialty of urology. The “picture” promotes the science itself. New entities of diseases were described.

To teach this new technique the first models were designed by Nitze and his instrument maker Joseph Leiter (1830 -1892) of Vienna and were presented in the textbook of Nitze and the catalogue of the Leiter company. Other authors from the US followed, for example, F.C. Valentine (1851-1909) of New York.

The established German company of Heynemann in Leipzig produced a well-designed model with several possibilities to learn cystoscopy, ureteral catheterization and other endovesical procedures. In order to monitor the student, there was a mirror on the top. This was extremely useful because at that time the lens system produced a picture which was upside down and inverted left to right.

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