Obituary

Kurt Semm

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7411.397 (Published 14 August 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:397

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A pioneer in minimally invasive surgery

On 13 September 1980 gynaecologist Professor Kurt Semm performed the world's first laparoscopic appendicectomy at the University of Kiel in Germany. When Semm, director of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at Kiel University Hospital, later told a surgical meeting what he had done, the president of the German Surgical Society called for his suspension.


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Semm was a pioneer in minimally invasive surgery who was initially ridiculed and attacked by many of his colleagues but later was praised for his early advances in a field that went on to become highly fashionable. Nowadays minimally invasive surgery is a scientifically established standard procedure for certain operations.

After qualifying in 1951, Semm made his first scientific contributions …

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