China's first surgeon: Hua Tuo (c. 108-208 AD)

Shane R. Tubbs, Sheryl Riech, Ketan Verma, Joshua Chern, Martin Mortazavi, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hua Tuo (c. 108-208 AD), the Chinese surgical pioneer and herbal expert, excelled as a physician, making significant strides in anesthesia, surgery, and acupuncture. He is accredited for spearheading the practice of laparotomies and organ transplants, using anesthetics, and he was the first Chinese surgeon to operate on the abdomen including performing splenectomy and colostomy. Neurologically, Hua Tuo is said to have performed procedures to treat headache, paralysis, and suspected a brain tumor in one patient. Tuo's impact on medicine was so profound that the phrases "A Second Hua Tuo" or "Hua Tuo reincarnated" were coined in honor of his diligence and compassion to recognize outstanding physicians who demonstrate an equal caliber of surgical competence. It is the pioneering contributions tomedicine and surgery as made by such physicians as Hua Tuo on which we base our current understanding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1357-1360
Number of pages4
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Chinese
  • History
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology

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