Shalya Tantra

In the ancient India, surgery was principally pioneered by Ayurveda. Shalya Chikitsa is a significant branch of Ayurvedic science. The name of the sage-physician, Susruta, is synonymous with surgery. From his treatise Susruta Samhita, we have become aware of the thousand of years ago sophisticated methods of surgery that were practiced in India. Topics of intestinal obstructions, bladder stones, ano-rectal diseases and the use of dead bodies for dissection and learning were taught and practiced in ancient India.

The original text of Susruta has a detailed discussion of the exhaustive range of surgical methods, which is inclusive of methods on how to deal with various types of tumors, internal and external injuries, fracture of bones, complications during pregnancy and delivery and obstruction in intestinal loop. Susruta was the first surgeon to develop cosmetic surgery in ayurveda. His surgical treatment for trichiasis can be reckoned with some of the modern operative techniques used for diseases.

Charaka, the best-known physician of Ayurvedic medicine, also recommended for Shalya Tantra for the treatment of certain diseases, which required immediate attention such as hemorrhoids(Arsha). The long foreign rule in India and lack of promotion stalled the progress of Ayurvedic surgery in the middle of the second millennium. Another major draw back of Shalya tantra was lack of proper aseptic precautions during the earlier days.