Richard Von Volkmann 1830-1889
Volkmann was born in Leipzig, Germany and attended medical schools in Giessen,
Halle, and Berlin. His father was the Professor of Anatomy and Physiology.
Starting in 1867, he worked as a
professor of surgery at the University of Halle, also directing its medical
Like Lister and unlike many of his
colleagues, Volkmann believed in maintaining a sterile environment during
surgery . His status as a surgeon encouraged the acceptance of antiseptic
practices. In 1878 Von Volkmann became the first surgeon to excise a cancerous
rectum, while several years earlier, he discovered that long exposure to tar and
paraffin can precipitate skin cancer. In 1881, he provided the first clinical
description of a contraction of the fingers, now known as Volkmann's
contracture, caused by pressure or injury. He is well known to us for his
instrument widely used today, the Volkmann's Spoon and Volkmann's bone currettes.
Volkmann died in Jena,
Germany, in 1889. 279