First Operation


Arpad Gerster

Arpad Gerster

1880 - Arpad Gerster is appointed to the staff, and will become a leader in American Surgery. In 1885, he publishes the first paper that suggests that cancer may be disseminated by a surgical procedure. In 1888 Gerster publishes Rules of Aseptic and Antiseptic Surgery, the first American work on the subject.

Howard Lillienthal
Howard Lillienthal

1887 - Howard Lilienthal is selected to join the House Staff, and becomes the first house officer to choose surgery. He will remain at Mount Sinai for his entire career. He published over 300 papers. In 1901 he reported the first successful colectomy (staged) for “colitis” in the United States . In 1910, he is the surgeon for the first operation ever performed using endotracheal anesthesia, a technique devised by Charles Elsberg of the Surgical Staff. In 1914, Lilienthal performs the first successful pulmonary resection for suppurative lung disease. He becomes the Chief of the Thoracic Surgical Service. His 1926 textbook Thoracic Surgery  becomes the standard reference work on the subject.

Lab Coat

1890 - Southgate Leigh, a member of the Surgery House Staff, introduces the white coat into the hospital.

1899 - George Brewer introduces the use of rubber gloves in the operating room.
Rubber Gloves

Alexis Moschowitz
Alexis Moschowitz

1907 - Alexis Moschcowitz describes his repair for femoral hernia which is still in use today.

Leo Burger
Leo Buerger

1908 - Leo Buerger describes "thromboangiitis obliterans" (Buerger's disease).

1914 - The Department of Surgery is organized into four divisions: neurosurgery, thoracic, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary, led respectively by Charles Elsberg, Howard Lilienthal, A. A. Berg, and Edwin Beer.

Richard Lewisohn
Richard Lewisohn

1915 - Richard Lewisohn introduces the citrate method of preserving blood, thereby greatly simplifying transfusion and eliminating the need for direct donor to recipient transfusion.

A. A. Berg
A. A. Berg

1922 - A. A. Berg performs first gastrectomy in the United States for peptic ulcer disease.


Harold Neuhof
Harold Neuhof

1923 - Harold Neuhof performs a xenotransplant, transplanting a lamb kidney into a patient with acute renal failure. The patient survives nine days.

1932 - Leon Ginzburg, then a young surgeon on the staff, Burrill Crohn, and Gordon Oppenheimer, publish Regional Ileitis, now known world wide as Crohn's disease.

Ralph Colp
Ralph Colp

1934 - Ralph Colp describes â€ileo-colitis" for the first time.

1936 - Neuhof and Arthur Touroff describe the one-stage procedure for drainage of putrid lung abscess. The paper becomes a classic in thoracic surgery.

1940 - Touroff reports the first survivors following ligation of an infected patent ductus arteriosus.

John Garlock
John Garlock

1944 - John Garlock reports the first successful resection of carcinoma of the middle third of the esophagus with reestablishment of continuity.

1952 - Arthur Barsky becomes the first Chief of the newly created Division of Plastic Surgery.

Mark Ravitch
Mark Ravitch

1952 - Mark Ravitch becomes the first full time Chief of Surgery. His tenure will last only 38 months, but he sets the stage for the future development of a full time component of the Department.

Allen Kark
Allen Kark

1961 - Allan Kark becomes the third full time Chief of Surgery. He creates Divisions of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery and recruits Robert Litwak and Julius Jacobson to lead them.

1962 - The Department affiliates with a City Hospital to provide additional trauma experience for the residents in the training program.

1967 - The first kidney transplant at Mount Sinai is performed by Lewis Burrows.

Arthur H. Aufses
Arthur H. Aufses, Jr.

1974 - Arthur H. Aufses, Jr., is appointed Chairman of the Department, a position he held for 22 years.

1982 - Burrows and Paul Tartter are the first to note that peri-operative blood transfusion reduces immunity and leads to increased recurrence in colorectal malignancy.

1988 - The first liver transplant in New York State is performed at the Hospital.

1990 - Cardiothoracic Surgery becomes a separate Department.

1992 - The Department forms one of the first academic Divisions of Laparoscopic Surgery.

1996 - The Department institutes an endovascular stent program.

1997 - A major gift from Mrs. Ruth J. Hauser names the Department as: The Ruth J. and Maxwell Hauser and Harriet and Arthur H. Aufses, Jr., MD, Department of Surgery.