Charles Pravaz

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Charles Gabriel Pravaz (24 March 1791 – 24 June 1853) was a French orthopedic surgeon and inventor of the hypodermic syringe.

While the concept dated to Galen,[1] the modern syringe is thought to have originated in 15th-century Italy, although it took several centuries for the device to be developed. In 1657, experiments were conducted on syringe-like devices by Englishmen Christopher Wren and Robert Boyle,[2] while French physician Dominique Anel created the modern pump syringe as a device to clean wounds using suction.[2]

In all these cases, it was impossible to perform injections without an incision until Irish physician Francis Rynd invented the hollow needle in 1844.[citation needed] Wanting to inject iron perchloride coagulant into an aneurysm, Pravaz adapted Rynd's needle, rather than using the usual suction tube. Measuring 3 cm (1.18 in) long and 5 mm (0.2 in) in diameter, the syringe was entirely in silver,[2] made by Établissements Charrière, and operated by a screw (rather than the plunger familiar today) to control the amount of substance injected.

Pravaz did little development of the invention, and it would be another French surgeon, L. J. Béhier, who would make Pravaz's invention known across Europe. It thus initiated the science of sclerotherapy and the treatment of varicose veins and other varices.


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