Modern syringes have become a staple in news articles as a result of the various drug abuse epidemics facing the United States over the last several decades. As a result, 31 states have adopted needle exchange programs to help keep individuals safer even when they choose to engage in illicit drug activity.
Many people think that syringes were a recent invention that accompanied this more recent history. But the reality is that the history of the glass syringe goes back much further.
In fact, syringes for injection have been part of medical history for centuries.
In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about the history of needles and the history of medical syringes.
The Earliest Syringes
The earliest syringes actually didn’t use needles. Instead, they were used to apply certain types of medical ointment. They were also used to help suction material or liquid out of or off of the body.
Some surgeons used open syringes in the earliest periods of modern medicine to help remove cataracts from the eye using suction.
The first needles eventually came onto the scene in the form of glass tubes, goose quills, or hollow reeds.
Alexander Wood was a Scottish doctor who is credited with creating the first hypodermic syringe. In 1853, he created the device to help treat pain in one particular area of the body.
Wood attached a hollow needle to a plunger to create this invention. He was then able to inject a form of pain relief into an area that was causing pain in a woman with neuralgia.
Another French orthopedic surgeon also developed the syringe at the same time. Charles Gabriel Pravaz had never met Alexander Wood, but both claimed to have invented the syringe in the same year. Generally, historians credit Wood with being the first to invent the syringe.
Wood’s invention used glass as opposed to Pravaz’s syringe, which used silver.
Because Wood used glass for his material, it was much easier to see the amount of medicine that was being given out to the patient.
Different Types of Material
The type of material used for syringes continued to be modified over the next century. Various types of syringes employed both metal and glass. This allowed for reuse on patients.
However, this was of course very dangerous because the modern understanding of antiseptic techniques had not yet taken a foothold. Once scientists realized how essential it is to sterilize equipment between patients, this practice became implemented with needles and syringes.
Modern-day syringes are usually made of plastic and may have a stainless steel needle. To avoid any possible contamination, most syringes and needles are single-use. This ensures sterility and prevents disease transmission.
You can find specialized syringe filters at www.chromtech.com.
The History of the Glass Syringe
At the end of the day, the glass syringe is a modern invention that goes back several centuries. The earliest syringe supplies were very primitive and contained a real risk of causing damage to the patient. Fortunately, modern-day syringes have adopted full anti-septic sterility by being single-use and made of a clear safe plastic material.
If you enjoyed this article about the history of syringes, please check out the other articles on our blog!
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