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The present notion - tracheotomy, originates from the Latin words trachea – windpipe, which comes from the combination of Latin “tracheia” and Greek “arteria” indicating an uneven road, and “tome” – cut. Procedures of pharyngotomy have a long-lasting history. First similar operations were found on the ancient Egyptian clay tablets dating back to 3600 BC. Mentions of pharyngotomy operations were found in the papyrus called Ebers’s Papyrus dating back to about 1550 BC, which can obviously be treated as an encyclopaedia of the medical knowledge that the ancient Egyptians possessed. Guidelines for the person performing pharyngotomy were described in Rig Veda – the holy scriptures of Hindi medicine, about 2000 BC. Asclepiads of Prussia in Bithynia (124–156 BC), a Greek physician practising in Rome, is commonly considered the father of pharyngotomy. In the 1st century BC he documented an operation similar to pharyngotomy. Procedures similar to pharyngotomy were conducted by Claudius Galenus of Pergamon (about 130–200 AD) who was treating gladiators at the beginning of his medical career. A precise description of the technique in pharyngotomy performed by the method adopted from Antilla (3rd century AD) was presented by Paulos Aeginata (625–690 AD), whereas in modern times the first surgical pharyngotomy was performed by Antonio Brasavola (1490–1554) in 1546. In those times pharyngotomy operations were applied as life saving procedures and were associated with a desperate fight for life. The best example is given by Sanctorio Santorius (1561–1636) who pierced the trachea lumen with a trocar. All the experiences connected with the pharyngotomy technique were collected by Lorenz Heister (1683–1758) and published in his work “Surgery” in 1716. Until the end of 18th century the work finally established views about performing pharyngotomy operations. In 1856 Eugeniusz Bonchut conducted the first pharyngotomy in a child with passing an intubation tube into the trachea lumen. The operation was performed according to theoretical assumptions by Armando Trausseau (1801–1867), whose contributions to emergency pharyngotomy methods are enormous. Finally, at the beginning of the 20th century Chevalier Jackson (1865–1958) set principles for surgical techniques in pharyngotomy that still remain in force. The return to Sanctorius’s method and also adaptation of Selinger’s method (1953) of cannulation of blood vessels turned out to be fundamental for the further development of transdermal pharyngotomy. The first set for multistage, dilatation pharyngotomy was provided by P. Ciaglia et al. in 1985. A one-stage pharyngotomy by special forceps was described by W. M. Griggs et al. in 1990. A technique of transdermal pharyngotomy from inside the trachea was presented in 1995 by A. Fantoni with his group. Modern methods of transdermal pharyngotomy are good complementary techniques for classical methods of pharyngotomy in both emergency and chronic cases.
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