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ISRN Surgery
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 934965, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/934965
Review Article

Surgery for Gynecomastia in the Islamic Golden Age: Al-Tasrif of Al-Zahrawi (936–1013 AD)

1Hematology and Oncology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz 51656-65811, Iran
2Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz 51656-65811, Iran
3Medical Philosophy and History Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz 51656-65811, Iran
4Students’ Research Committee, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz 51656-65811, Iran
5Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Law, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, 1141 Baku, Azerbaijan
6Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz 51656-65811, Iran

Received 14 June 2012; Accepted 1 August 2012

Academic Editors: R. W. Hsu and A. Petroianu

Copyright © 2012 Seyed Hadi Chavoushi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The rise of European science during the Renaissance is greatly indebted to the flourishing of the sciences during the Islamic Golden Age. However, some believe that medieval Islamic physicians and in particular surgeons had been merely a medium for Greco-Roman ideas. Contrarily, in some medieval Islamic medical books, such as Al-Tasrif of Al-Zahrawi (936–1013), the surgical instructions represent a change in the usual techniques or are accompanied by a case history, implying that the procedure was actually undertaken. Along with the hundreds of chapters on different diseases and related medical and surgical treatments, Al-Tasrif includes a chapter on surgical techniques for gynecomastia. The present paper is a review of the description of the surgical management of gynecomastia by Al-Zahrawi as well as that of the ancient Greek, medieval, and modern medicine. Although Al-Zahrawi seemed to base his descriptions of surgery for gynecomastia upon those of Paulus of Aegina, his modification of the procedure and application of the medicinal substances might be indicative of Al-Zahrawi’s own practice of the procedure. Al-Zahrawi’s surgical procedures remained unchanged for many centuries thenceforward until the technological evolution in the recent centuries.