Surgery on varicose veins in the early Ottoman period performed by Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu

Ann Vasc Surg. 2003 Jul;17(4):468-72. doi: 10.1007/s10016-003-0012-3.


Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu, a pioneer of surgery, is known to be the author of first illustrated surgery textbook, Cerrahiyyetu'l Haniyye (Imperial Surgery), which was written in Turkish in 1465 AD at the age of 80 years. The purpose of this article is to describe his contributions to varicose vein surgery. In addition to vascular surgery, Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu was interested in a wide range of surgical specialities including thoracic surgery, general surgery, pediatric surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedic surgery, urologic surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology. His book was the first illustrated textbook of surgery in the Turkish medical literature, containing color illustrations of surgical procedures, incisions, and instruments. The book has been known of for only the past 60 years. There are 137 different medical observations and recommendations in Cerrahiyyetu'l Haniyye, along with translated passages from the works of Ebu Kasim-ul Zahravi (Albucasis), Al-Tasrif (Textbook of Surgery), including Sabuncuoğlu's additional original contributions. In chapter 90 of the book, Sabuncuoğlu describes lower extremity varices and their surgical treatment and provides a few color illustrations. Although not recognized and rewarded in his time, Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu was a great surgeon in Turkish-Islamic medical history. This review demonstrates that his textbook, Cerrahiyyetu'l Haniyye, was the first illustrated textbook including various surgical procedures, incisions, and instruments of varicose vein surgery.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • General Surgery / history*
  • History, 15th Century
  • Humans
  • Textbooks as Topic / history
  • Turkey
  • Varicose Veins / history*
  • Varicose Veins / surgery

Personal name as subject

  • Serefeddin Sabuncuoglu