Charles Pravaz  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Charles Gabriel Pravaz (1791-1853) was a French orthopedic surgeon and inventor of the hypodermic syringe.

While the concept dated to Galen, the modern syringe is thought to have originated in Fifteenth 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, while French physician Dominique Anel created the modern pump syringe as a device to clean wounds using suction.

In all these cases, it was impossible to perform injections without an incision until Irish physician Francis Rynd invented the hollow needle in 1844. Wanting to inject of 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, 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.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Charles Pravaz" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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