Korean J Med Hist.  1997 Dec;6(2):205-215.

On the Traditional Surgery of Choson Period (I)

  • 1Department of the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.


In this paper, authors discussed the development of the traditional surgery of Choson Period(16th to 19th century), and analyzed the contents of their professional guide books on surgery, particulary, on abscess(Chong-Ki) excision. The invasive skill of Korean abscess healers was by far different from ones of the preservative traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. Korean healers used specially designed acupuncture instruments(mess-like), and they advocated early excision of abscess(carbuncle, furuncle, liver abscess, pleurisy etc). Their achievement can be said to be comparable with that of Ambroise Pare. Generally, they were of low classes. Therefore, by treating horses and their neighbors of same classes, they could improve their invasive, rather dangerous skills and could invent new techniques of surgery. And it might be said that they inherited the traditional secret method of medicine-men and Buddhist-doctors of Koryo period.


Korea; Treatment of Abscess; Abscess; Acupunture; Surgery; History
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