Otology at the Academy of Gondishapur 200–600 CE

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate the way in which otology was practiced at the Academy of Gondishapur in ancient Persia from 200 to 600 CE.

Method:

The pertinent literature, using German and English translations of Latin, Greek, Arabic, and Sanskrit documents, was identified and reviewed through the indices of available books and through a PDF search for the following topics: auricle, deaf, deafness, dizziness, ear, hearing, medicine, otitis, pinna, punishment—ear, speech, surgery, vertigo, and voice.

Results:

The medical school at the Academy of Gondishapur followed the medical and surgical practices of Greece and Rome and, in the 6th century, incorporated those from India as detailed in the Shutra Samhita. This shutra, which originated during the first millennium BCE, detailed many interventions, among which one of the most unusual was the use of a pedicle cheek flap to restore the pinnae. The use of the pedicle flap for pinna restoration appears not have been reported in literature again until 1931, by Jacque Joseph.

Conclusion:

During the period of late antiquity, medical knowledge of both the east and west was preserved and taught in Persia. Among surgical interventions used during the first millennium BCE in India, knowledge of which passed, through the shutra, to the Sasanian Empire in the 6th century CE, was use of the pedicle cheek flap for pinna reconstruction. Even as late as the Renaissance, the pedicle flap was not known to surgeons in the West, and a pedicle flap, though not a cheek flap, was first incorporated into Western medical practice during the 1930s.

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