Exhibit of the Month: The “Bavarian Lithotomy Set”

10 August 2018 By Friedrich Moll

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 and curator of the collections of the DGU.

Lithotomy, the cutting out of bladder stones, is the earliest urological operation; it was mentioned in the Hippocratic Oath. Since ancient times lithotomy sets were assembled in special cases so the instruments were all at hand for operations and there are fine examples from excavations.

For me this set is worth special mention because it shows the status that the science of urology had reached by the turn of the 20th century when “blind” lithotrity had substituted the old open operations of the ancients. These “blind” operations were commonly carried out in the German-speaking urologic centres at Wildungen, Brückenau and Marienbad (today’s Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic).

This set was presented to the Bavarian urologist Dr. Conrad Schneider (1861–1944) of Munich but it appears it was never used. It was produced by the famous Munich instrument company of Hermann Katsch (1837 -1891), later on owned by Karl Koch & Norbert Iblherr. Cutlers and instrument makers to the university. The company was located at Schillerstrasse 17 and later Bayernstrasse 25.

It combines instruments for both open lithotomy and “blind” lithotrity including, lithotrites, stone forceps and sounds.

Further reading on the European Museum of Urology >

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