Southey’s Silver Trocar Set

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A set of Southey’s tubes with a central steel trocar and four silver perforated cannulae stored within the handle section.

The cannulae fit like a sleeve over the sharp trocar which acts as an introducer. After puncturing the skin the trocar could be withdrawn, leaving the silver cannula in situ to drain extra-vascular serous fluid. They were initially used in ansarca (or dropsy) related to kidney failure where oedema was severe and widespread, but later their use became commonplace in draining peripheral fluid from the leg or ankle in cases of heart failure. The process was often complicated by infection.

Invented in 1877 by the English physician Reginald S. Southey (1835 – 1899) whose father had been a doctor, and who was a nephew of the famous poet Robert Southey.

A similar example is seen on page 178 of Elisabeth Bennion’s Antique Medical Instruments.

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