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A statue dedicated to Sushruta at Haridwar

Suśruta (Devanagari सुश्रुत, an adjective meaning "very famous"[1]) was an ancient Indian surgeon commonly attributed to as the author of the treatise Sushruta Samhita. He is dubbed as the "founding father of surgery" and the Sushrut Samhita is identified as one of the best and outstanding commentary on Medical Science of Surgery (citation needed!). He is said to have been a physician originally of South India[2] active in Varanasi. His period is usually placed between the period of 1200 BC - 600 BC.[3][4] One of the earliest known mention of the name is from the Bower Manuscript (4th or 5th century), where Sushruta is listed as one of the ten sages residing in the Himalayas.[5][5] Texts also suggest that he learned surgery at Kasi from Lord Dhanvantari, the god of medicine in Hindu mythology.[6]

Sushruta Samhita[edit]

The Sushruta Samhita, in its extant form, in 184 chapters contains descriptions of 1,120 illnesses, 700 medicinal plants, 64 preparations from mineral sources and 57 preparations based on animal sources. The text discusses surgical techniques of making incisions, probing, extraction of foreign bodies, alkali and thermal cauterization, tooth extraction, excisions, and trocars for draining abscess, draining hydrocele and ascitic fluid, the removal of the prostate gland, urethral stricture dilatation, vesiculolithotomy, hernia surgery, caesarian section, management of haemorrhoids, fistulae, laparotomy and management of intestinal obstruction, perforated intestines, and accidental perforation of the abdomen with protrusion of omentum and the principles of fracture management, viz., traction, manipulation, appositions and stabilization including some measures of rehabilitation and fitting of prosthetics. It enumerates six types of dislocations, twelve varieties of fractures, and classification of the bones and their reaction to the injuries, and gives a classification of eye diseases including cataract surgery. Rao (2005) speculated that there may be an original "layer" to the text which might indeed date to the "elder Sushruta" (Vrddha Sushruta) which was redacted "by another Sushruta in the first century A.D.", with still later additions and redactions by Nagarjuna leading to the extant text; a redaction by one Nagarjuna is explicitly mentioned by Dalhana, the author of the primary commentary on the Sushruta Samhita.[7][8][9][10][11]


  1. ^ Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit Dictionary (1899).
  2. ^ Amaresh Datta, various. The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume One (A To Devo)). Sahitya academy. p. 311. 
  3. ^ David O. Kennedy. Plants and the Human Brain. Oxford. p. 265. 
  4. ^ Singh, P.B.; Pravin S. Rana (2002). Banaras Region: A Spiritual and Cultural Guide. Varanasi: Indica Books. p. 31. ISBN 81-86569-24-3.  [unreliable source?]
  5. ^ a b Kutumbian, pages XXXII-XXXIII
  6. ^ Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit Dictionary, s.v. "suśruta"
  7. ^ K. Mangathayaru. Pharmacognosy: An Indian perspective. Pearson Education India. p. 2. 
  8. ^ Adam Hart-Davis. History: From the Dawn of Civilization to the Present Day. Penguin. p. 53. 
  9. ^ Dwivedi & Dwivedi (2007)
  10. ^ Lock etc., page 420
  11. ^ "Sushruta: The first Plastic Surgeon in 600 B.C.". Internet Journal of Plastic Surgery 4 (2). ISSN 1528-8293.