1846 Osteo-Sarcoma of the Lower Jaw

Folks who have been following the quest of the Rancocas Creek as a National Water Trail are familiar w the “Texas” phosphorus works. One common disease of workers there is “phossy-jaw”. While not the same as osteo-sarcoma of the jaw the treatment modality is it seems one of the same. Cut away the sarcoma and impacted area of the jaw, replace w wooden insert and hope for the best. As one might figure there are not many documented reports from MD on how osteo-sarcoma or phossy jaw was surgically addressed. The following material is from a case in 1846 and describes how the wound is treated surgically and a wooden replacement jaw factored into a patients mouth. The case provides an example of oral surgery in 1846. By 1870’s when phossy jaw was a known disease the same procedures would have been undertaken. Interesting to note the patient recoiled at being cut w surgical knife w/o the benefit of a sedative agent… can’t imagine why not.

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