Respectful Insolence

Truer words were never spoken…

Via Modern Mechanix, an ad from 1938:


Does this make you think of something other than a medical ad? Maybe it’s the whole thing about the “human hand” being placed on the groin as a truss.

Actually, the best “support” for a “rupture” (a.k.a. an inguinal hernia) these days is some polypropylene mesh sewn into place properly as either a sheet and/or plug to hold the “rupture” in. Back in 1938, the best “support” was some conjoined tendon sewn to the appropriate ligament, the most common of which when I was a resident, back in the days right before mesh became popular, was the Bassini repair, although the Cooper’s ligament repair and Shouldice repair were also taught.

These days, with tension-free repairs done using mesh, hernia repairs are generally not that big a deal. We should be grateful that they are no longer done the way that they were attempted hundreds of years ago:


Now that looks painful.

Clearly, though, surgeons understood even centuries ago the importance of the Trendelenburg position.


  1. #1 Sid Schwab
    June 17, 2007

    It’s too late for me to have a procedure or an instrument named after me. I’m still working on coming up with a postion.

  2. #2 Tracy W
    June 17, 2007

    In the medieval picture, what are the two guys trying to do? Is that a knife the large guy is holding? Is he going to try to cut off a hernia?

  3. #3 fusilier
    June 17, 2007

    Duct Tape.

    What else is needed?

    James 2:24

  4. #4 THobbes
    June 19, 2007

    Does it make me think of something other than a medical ad? Hell yes.

    “Rupture” is assonant with “eruption,” while the ad shows a man reaching toward his unclothed groin. Then they drop huge text into the middle talking about the “Brooks device” and its resemblance to a human hand–and they send you the information in a plain envelope! Good Lord.

  5. #5 THobbes
    June 19, 2007

    Oh yes, and the phrase “ease, comfort, and happiness.”

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