The only surgical procedure mentioned in the Bible is circumcision. This was done for religious rather than medical reasons wand was not ordinarily performed by a doctor. In many ways, however, advances in surgery occurred more rapidly than progress in other branches of medicine in many countries.

Descriptions of operations have been found in ancient literature, and some old surgical tools have been found in the ruins of ancient cities. Skeletons and mummies sometimes bear the traces of ancient surgical procedures. Boils were lanced; broken bones were set; arms and legs were amputated.

Holes were drilled into skulls to relieve pressure, and stones were removed from urinary bladders. Teeth were also extracted. Ancient mummies have been found with gold fillings in their teeth. In addition, false teeth, using human or animal teeth, were being prepared by at least 500 B.C. Other kinds of daring operations were performed. Surgery called for boldness on the part of both the doctor and the patient.

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