October the 1st 1777: Sigault Executes. The First Symphysiotomy on a Living Woman


  • Arturo Viglione Operative Unit of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Hospital of Barga (Lucca) "Center of Bioethics" University of Pisa


Pelvic girdle relaxation, Distocy , Symphysiotomy


 Hippocrates observed that in women, during childbirth, the iliac bones because of the failure of the joints disconnet and move away from their anchorage. In the 17th and 18thcentury, doctors plagued with severe and frequent mechanical dystocies, often fatal, devoted themselves to resolve these problem through measures aimed at obtaining a more modest growth of the fetus (thanks to an appropriate maternal nutrition, or induction of preterm birth) and both encouraging artificially and strengthening the natural pelvic collapse descripted by Hippocrates. they realized, but with little success, prophylactic measures (fumigation of the pelvis, local applications of emollients, fracture of the del coccyx in the female newborns, antepartum coitus), and absurd pharmacological remedies or resorted to intrapartum obstetric maneuvers, but they did non forget even to suggest the voluntary sterility to stunted or kyphotic women. The symphysiotomy on living women, officially performed for the first time by Dr. Sigault in 1777, in Paris (but certainly in 1774 by Prof. Ferrara in Naples) modified the obstetrical assistance.