Changing Planet

Does This Look Infected? Medical Procedures Then and Now

By Kevin Fletcher

So many things have changed in medicine over the past few centuries. Procedures that used to take hours of grueling, grotesque labor can now be done in just a matter of minutes and are dramatically less painful or almost completely pain free.

In simpler times, when bullets had to be extracted and cauterizing irons were used, there were little to no anesthetics available to the medical field. This would often cause patients to go into shock and sometimes die from extreme pain and heart failure. Now, it is very rare for bullets to even be removed from the body. Today, instead of irons and extractors, we have scalpels and antibiotics.

Not only have operating procedures changed, but cleanliness and health guidelines have been updated as well. Believe it or not, sterilization wasn’t always considered a necessity and some tools were used from patient to patient without being cleaned. Bloodletting, now seen as an unsanitary and often fatal procedure, was once regarded as one of the only ways to rid the body of harmful diseases. Gone are the days of physical restraints and bite boards, as we have now ushered in a new era of morphine and antiseptics with open arms.

This infographic, provided by our friends at Medex Supply, explores the ever evolving world of extraneous medical procedures and how they’ve changed throughout the years. Do you know of any other outdated medical procedures that should have made the list? Take a moment to share them with us in the comments!

Medical Procedures Then and Now [Infographic]
courtesy of

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