Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery
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Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery

2008, Health  -   27 Comments
Ratings: 8.84/10 from 62 users.

Blood and Guts: A History of SurgeryDocumentary series looking at the brutal, bloody and dangerous history of surgery. Michael Mosley recounts the history of surgery through its catastrophes and successes.

1. Into the Brain. Just over 100 years ago, cutting into the brain was a terrifying prospect for both patient and surgeon. They could expect the result to be the surgeon bloodied and defeated, and the patient dead. From freak accidents involving crowbars through the skull to notorious lobotomies with icepicks, this programme reveals how, through mishap and misadventure, brain surgery has become the life-saving discipline it is today.

2. Bleeding Hearts. With a family history of heart problems, presenter Michael Mosley takes a personal interest in these pioneers, who teetered on the scalpel-edge between saviour and executioner. Michael has a go at heart surgery, meets a man with no heartbeat and witnesses an operation where the patient is cooled until their brain stops and has all of their blood sucked out.

3. Spare Parts. These days, transplant surgery saves thousands of lives every year and almost everything, from heart to eyes, can be replaced. But in the beginning, transplants killed rather than cured, because surgeons didn't understand that they were taking on one of the most efficient killing systems we know of - the human immune system.

4. Fixing Faces. Thought of as a modern phenomenon, it actually started over 400 years ago with a spate of botched nose jobs. Since then, surgeons have been entranced with the idea that not only could they fix the body, but could even fix our sense of self-esteem. Presenter Michael Mosley undergoes both 16th-century bondage and 21st-century botox in his journey of discovery.

5. Bloody Beginnings. Presenter Michael Mosley finds out how the early days of surgery were dark and barbaric, when the surgeon's knife was more likely to kill you than save you, and invasive medicine generally meant being bloodlet by leeches to within an inch of your life.

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8 years ago

This first video is absolutely repulsive. The brain is so, so incredibly delicate it makes me sick to my stomach to see it even touched, let alone destroyed. I Hope the rest aren't as gruesome.

11 years ago

Was that screaming necessary?

11 years ago

woooww.... lobotomys.... brutal... With the methods that guy used Im suprised ANY of them survived, let alone improved! Id rather stay mental then have someone hammer a pick into my brain and wiggle it around..

Andrea Cobb
11 years ago

Amazing. What a great program. Very interesting.

11 years ago

I know I only watched 5 min of this so far, but I would NOT want someone to operate on me if they've just found out their child has died! I don't care HOW dedicated to your work you are.

11 years ago

I just watched the first episode and though it is quite gory, I think it is really fascinating. I wonder if the brains collected in the jars could be implanted into a human who has a functional body but a damaged brain. Would that be reviving the dead person who has donated his/her functional brain?

12 years ago

Nice! Glad to find something where people aren't arguing about a non existent dog.

12 years ago

I'm at the third episode so far...and I plan on going the whole way. This is not for the faint of heart. It's very gory and to many, very disturbing. So I'd advise the weak stomached not to watch.

I'm not a doctor or a student studying medicine, but I stumbled upon this because the personal motivations for being these incredible pioneers in surgery is very interesting to learn. I find that there are about as many surgeons who do it out of genuine hope to help humanity, while others have a darker motive, like being number one or obsession. But in the end, even the people who seem a little morally ambiguous ultimately paved the way for medical breakthroughs.

Really great series.

12 years ago

What I don't get is how they get the idea to use the most deadly toxin known to man as major component for cosmetic enhancement !!

12 years ago

another good one

12 years ago

Yeah it looks like their evil plan from the dark side of the moon is working in your case.

12 years ago

Great stuff! Some to watch for sure. American TV sucks, guess that's why I cut the cord over a year ago.

12 years ago

The blue eye of that baby is freakin' me out, man.

12 years ago

Another well done documentary by the BBC.