CME INDIA Presentation by ⚜ Dr. M. Gowri Sankar, MD, Senior Assistant Professor, Dept. of General Medicine, Government Medical College and ESI Hospital, Coimbatore.

Today’s History Feature:

Prof. Dr. Kurt Semm

(Mar 23,1927 – Jul 16, 2003)

💠German Gynaecologist

💠Pioneer in Minimally Invasive Surgery

💠Father of Modern Laparoscopic Surgery

His contributions…

🔸Semm was born in Munich, Germany. He was influenced by his father’s technical work, who was an engineer in a car company.

🔸When he was 16 years old, he was involved in the Second World War and became a Soviet prisoner of war. After his return, he joined to study medicine at the Ludwig-Maximilian University School of Medicine, Munich and later specialized in Gynaecology.

🔸During the early days of his career, he was highly influenced by the publications of Dr. Raoul Palmer, a French Gynaecologist, who was a pioneer in gynaecologic laparoscopy.

🔸Dr. Semm began his service as an assistant and became the chairman of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Kiel in 1970.

🔸Indeed, he dedicated his whole life to laparoscopy. In early days, he preferred the term “Pelviscopy.

🔸He further pioneered numerous Gynaecological laparoscopic procedures such as myomectomy, ovariectomy, ovarian cysts resection, adnexectomy, treatment of tubal pregnancy, and many others.

🔸He also invented more than 80 laparoscopic devices such as

🔅Electronic insufflator


🔅Extra & Intra-corporeal endoscopic knotting

🔸Subsequently, he did thousands of improvements to his laparoscopic instruments.

🔸During his early days, Dr. Semm was criticized for his laparoscopic surgeries and his publications were getting rejected. Moreover, complaints kept raising that his technique are unethical.

🔸Once, he was making a slide presentation on ovarian cysts. Suddenly, the projector was unplugged with the explanation that such unethical surgery should never be presented.

🔸Later, Dr. Semm realized that laparoscopic surgery had tremendous potential not only in the field of Gynaecology but also in General Surgery. 

🔸On September 13, 1980, Dr. Semm performed the World’s First Fully Laparoscopic Appendectomy. As usual, his attempts to publish on laparoscopic appendectomy were rejected.

🔸At the same time, some German general surgeons trained under Dr. Semm and began conducting surgical laparoscopy on a large scale. During the early 1990, they carried out hundreds of laparoscopic appendectomies and went on to perfect the techniques.

🔸Later in the year 1985, Professor of Surgery in Germany Prof. Dr. Erich Muhe, used Dr. Semm’s instruments and techniques to remove the first gallbladder laparoscopically.

🔸Shortly, thereafter the Laparoscopic revolution broke out, and Dr. Semm’s laparoscopic teachings were in huge demand and his publications on the German language were translated into many languages.

🔸Dr. Semm, during the course of his life, ultimately opened up a New Era of Gynaecologic Surgery and paved a new path in Minimally Invasive Surgery.

A Day to Commemorate

An Innovator of Laparoscopic Surgery

Prof. Dr. Kurt Semm 🙏🏼

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