Theodor Billroth Biography

Theodor Billroth was a great surgeon who invented many surgical procedures. He was an amateur musician too. Read this biography to learn more about his profile, childhood, life and timeline.

Theodor Billroth
Quick Facts

Birthday: April 26, 1829

Nationality: Austrian, Croatian, Prussian

Famous: Austrian Men Croatian Men

Died At Age: 64

Sun Sign: Taurus

Also Known As: Christian Albert Theodor Billroth

Born Country: Prussia

Born in: Bergen auf Rügen

Famous as: Surgeon

Family:

father: Carl Theodor Billroth

mother: Johanna Christina

Died on: February 6, 1894

place of death: Opatija

More Facts

education: Georg-August University of Göttingen, Humboldt University of Berlin, Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald

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Christian Albert Theodor Billroth is remembered as one of the most innovative medical surgeons and educators of 19th century. He was a leading patron of Viennese musical scene and contributed to both surgical and musical field. Billroth is regarded as the father of modern abdominal surgery and was the first person to attempt to do a scientific analysis of music. He completed his doctorate studies in medicine and became a successful surgeon. Being a passionate learner, Billroth visited many medical universities as part of his educational tour. His amazing presence of mind and cool temper made him one of the most distinguished surgeons of his time. He penned many papers and books in medicine and also served in a military hospital during Franco-German War. He is remembered for his important role in establishing the first modern school of thought in surgery. Learn more about the life of this skillful physician from this biography.

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Childhood And Early Life
Billroth was born on 26th April 1829 in the kingdom of Prussia in a family of Swedish origin. He attended school in Greifswald and later, enrolled in the University of Greifswald for medicine. He was student to Wilhelm Baum and moved to the University of Gottingen along with his professor. Billroth completed his doctorate studies from University of Berlin and then he, along with his friends Rudolph Wagner and Georg Meissner, went to Trieste to study about the electric ray ‘Torpedo’. In 1852, after completing his doctorate studies, he started for an educational tour, visiting many medical schools in Prague, Vienna, London, Paris and Edinburgh.
 
Career 

Medicine
Billroth had an amazing ability to carry out or even invent new procedures and this gained him the appellation of “surgeon of great initiatives”. He worked as a doctor at Charite in Berlin, from 1853-1860, where he was working under Carl Langenbuch as apprentice. He served as professor at the University of Zurich from 1860 to 1867 and also served as the director of the surgical hospital in Zurich. Because of his interest in military surgery, he volunteered to work in Mannheim and Weissenburg hospitals during the Franco-German War. He put in great efforts in improving the transportation facilities and treatment for the wounded people in war and gave his famous speech on War Budget in 1891, emphasizing the need of effective ambulance system.  In 1867, he was appointed by the University of Vienna as a professor of Surgery. He also practiced surgery at the second surgical clinic at the Vienna General Hospital. He penned many papers and books in medical domain and his book, “Die llgemeine chirurgische Pathologie und Therapie”, (General Surgical Pathology and Therapy) published in 1863 was translated into many languages. He was the first person to do esophagectomy (1871), laryngectomy (1873) and gastrectomy (1881). He achieved this after many ill-fated attempts and it is said that his first gastrectomy surgery was such a failure that the patient died post procedure and Billroth was almost stoned to death in the streets of Vienna. By 1881, Billroth successfully did an excision of a cancerous pylorus (the lower end of the stomach) which became a great sensation. This initiated the modern era of surgery in the field of allopathic medicine. Modified versions of his surgical removal methods remained in use for many years. He was specialized in plastic surgery as well, especially of the face. 

Music
Billroth also had an appetite for music which he followed along with practicing medicine. He was a talented violinist and pianist and was close friend to the famous Viennese composer Brahms. Brahms used to send his compositions to Billroth for opinion before sending them for publishing. Billroth was a regular participant in rehearsals of Brahms’s chamber works. They were also close to the famous Viennese music critic Eduard Hanslick and the trio formed the core of musical conservatives. They thoroughly opposed the musical innovations of Franz Liszt and Richard Wanger and their conflicts are known as ‘War of the Romantics’. Billroth had also written an essay, “Wer ist musikalisch” (who is musical) but it got published only after his death. This essay discusses the different types of amusicalities like rhythm-deafness, tone deafness and harmony deafness. This is regarded as one of the first attempts to apply scientific method to music. However, Billroth could not complete this research.
 
Death
Billroth had a severe lung infection during the spring of 1887. He suffered from cardiac problems as well towards his last years. Billroth died on 6th February 1894 in Abbazia, Austria-Hungary. He was buried in Vienna with "princely" honors. There is a memorial for him in the arcade square at the University of Vienna, which was unveiled on November 7, 1897.
 
Positions Held
  • Doctor at Charite in Berlin
  • Director of a surgical hospital in Zurich
  • Professor of Surgery, University of Zürich
  • Professor of Surgery, University of Vienna

THEODOR BILLROTH TIMELINE

1829:

Billroth was born on 26th April in the kingdom of Prussia.

1852:

Billroth completed his doctorate studies from University of Berlin. He started an educational tour and visited many medical schools in Prague, Vienna, London, Paris and Edinburgh

1853:

Billroth worked as a doctor at Charite in Berlin till 1860.

1860:

He became Professor at the University of Zurich and remained in this post till 1867.

1863:

Billroth’s book “Die llgemeine chirurgische Pathologie und Therapie” (General Surgical Pathology and Therapy) got published and was translated into many languages.

1871:

Billroth successfully did his first esophagectomy.

1873:

Billroth successfully did his first laryngectomy.

1881:

Billroth successfully did his first gastrectomy. In the same year Billroth successfully did an excision of a cancerous pylorus (the lower end of the stomach). This initiated the modern era of surgery in the field of allopathic medicine.

1891:

Billroth gave his famous speech on War Budget in 1891 emphasizing the need of effective ambulance system.

1894:

Billroth died on 6th February in Abbazia, Austria-Hungary.

How To Cite

Article Title
- Theodor Billroth Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/theodor-billroth-418.php
Last Updated
- March 28, 2018

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