What tends to spur improvements in amputation techniques?

Improvements in amputation techniques generally have followed major wars. Because of the rise in the use of gunpowder and weapons of war associated with it, French military surgeon Ambroise Pare was forced to find more effective ways to treat soldiers suffering from devastating battlefield injuries.

Pare made several important contributions, including a reintroduction of the technique of ligating blood vessels in 1529.

Other notable advances that have affected amputation procedures include the introduction of the tourniquet, in 1674, which allowed greater control of blood flow during an amputation, and the introduction of anesthesia gases in the 1840s.

All of these developments were used extensively during the American Civil War, which recorded more than 50,000 amputations. Bullets pulverized tissues like no previous bullets had, which explains why 75 percent of the surgeries on the battlefield were amputations.

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