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300 Medical Inventions and Discoveries – Antiquity to Modern

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(Last Updated On: April 16, 2021)

The chronology of medical inventions is very long. There are a lot of medical inventions that changed the world. We are greatly indebted to the masterminds who did medical inventions and discoveries since time immemorial in order to turn human civilization into the present state. In this article, I am going to share the timeline of medical inventions and discoveries. You may also love to learn about the 17th century Dutch painters’ role and contribution.

Medical inventions and discoveries

Let’s find below a shortlist of medical inventions and discoveries:

Date Invention Inventor
1882 Adhesive plaster-covered bandages Paul Beiersdorf
1846 Anesthetic William Morton
1881 Anthrax vaccine Louis Pasteur
1865 Antiseptic Joseph Lister
1969 Artificial heart Denton Cooley
1972 (perfected) Artificial hip John Charnley
1979 Artificial skin Dr. John F. Burke and Ioannis Yannas
1674 Bacteria (discovered) Anton van Leeuwenhoek
1960 (approved by FDA) Birth control pill Gregory Pincus, John Rock, and Min-Chueh Chang
1628 (published) Blood circulation (discovered) William Harvey
1818 Blood transfusion (modern) Dr. Thomas Blundell
1880 Cholera vaccine Louis Pasteur
1887 Contact lenses (glass) Adolf Fick
1905 Corneal transplants Eduard Zirm
1847 Cough drops James Smith and sons
1864 Dental drill (motor-driven) George Fellows Harrington
1956 Disposable syringe Colin Murdoch
1953 DNA (structure discovered) Frances Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin
1903 Electrocardiograph Willem Einthoven
1912 Gas mask Garrett Augustus Morgan
1865 Genetics Johann Gregor Mendel
1967 Heart transplant Christiaan Barnard
1853 Hypodermic syringe Charles Gabriel Pravaz and Alexander Wood
1921 Insulin (discovery) Frederick Banting and Charles Best
1929 Iron lung Philip Drinker
1590 Microscope (compound) Hans Janssen
1803 Morphine Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Serturner
1847
1851
Ophthalmoscope Charles Babbage
Hermann Ludwig von Helmholtz
1960 (first use) Pacemaker (human) Wilson Greatbatch
1864 Pasteurization Louis Pasteur
1761 Pathology Giovanni Battista Morgagni
1928 Penicillin Alexander Fleming
1940s Plastic surgery Archibald Hector McIndoe
1953 Polio vaccine Jonas Salk
1820 Quinine Pierre Joseph Pelletier and Joseph Bienaime Caventou
1885 Rabies vaccine Louis Pasteur
1966 Rubella vaccine Paul D. Parkman and Harry M. Meyer Jr.
1753 (published) Scurvy vaccine James Lind
1796 Smallpox vaccine Edward Jenner
1819 Stethoscope René Laënnec
1866 Thermometer (medical) Thomas Allbutt
1895 X-rays Wilhelm Roentgen

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Detailed Timeline of Medical inventions and discoveries

Lets find below a detailed list of medical inventions and discoveries:

Antiquity medical inventions and discoveries

  • 3300 BC – During the Stone Age, early doctors used very primitive forms of herbal medicine.
  • 3000 BC – Ayurveda The origins of Ayurveda have been traced back to around 4,000 BCE.
  • c. 2600 BC – Imhotep the priest-physician who was later deified as the Egyptian god of medicine.
  • 2500 BC – Iry Egyptian inscription speaks of Iry as [eye-doctor of the palace,] [palace physician of the belly,] [guardian of the royal bowels,] and [he who prepares the important medicine (name cannot be translated) and knows the inner juices of the body.]
  • 1900 BC – 1600 BC Akkadian clay tablets on medicine survive primarily as copies from Ashurbanipal’s library at Nineveh.
  • 1800 BC – Code of Hammurabi sets out fees for surgeons and punishments for malpractice
  • 1800 BC – Kahun Gynecological Papyrus
  • 1600 BC – Hearst papyrus, coprotherapy and magic
  • 1551 BC – Ebers Papyrus, coprotherapy and magic
  • 1500 BC – Saffron used as a medicine on the Aegean island of Thera in ancient Greece
  • 1500 BC – Edwin Smith Papyrus, an Egyptian medical text and the oldest known surgical treatise (no true surgery) no magic
  • 1300 BC – Brugsch Papyrus and London Medical Papyrus
  • 1250 BC – Asklepios
  • 9th century – Hesiod reports an ontological conception of disease via the Pandora myth. The disease has a “life” of its own but is of divine origin.
  • 8th century – Homer tells that Polydamna supplied the Greek forces besieging Troy with healing drugs Homer also tells about battlefield surgery Idomeneus tells Nestor after Machaon had fallen: A surgeon who can cut out an arrow and heal the wound with his ointments is worth a regiment.
  • 700 BC – Cnidos medical school; also one at Cos
  • 500 BC – Darius I orders the restoration of the House of Life (First record of a (much older) medical school)
  • 500 BC – Bian Que becomes the earliest physician known to use acupuncture and pulse diagnosis
  • 500 BC – the Sushruta Samhita is published, laying the framework for Ayurvedic medicine
  • c. 490 – c. 430 – Empedocles four elements
  • 500 BC – Pills were used. They were presumably invented so that measured amounts of a medicinal substance could be delivered to a patient.
  • 510–430 BC – Alcmaeon of Croton scientific anatomic dissections.
  • fl. 425 BC – Diogenes of Apollonia
  • c. 484 – 425 BC – Herodotus tells us Egyptian doctors were specialists: Medicine is practiced among them on a plan of separation; each physician treats a single disorder and no more. Thus the country swarms with medical practitioners, some undertakings to cure diseases of the eye, others of the head, others again of the teeth, others of the intestines, and some those which are not local.
  • 496–405 BC – Sophocles “It is not a learned physician who sings incantations over pains which should be cured by cutting.”
  • 420 BC – Hippocrates of Cos maintains that diseases have natural causes and puts forth the Hippocratic Oath. Origin of rational medicine.

Medicine, medical inventions and discoveries  after Hippocrates 

  • c. 400 BC – 1 BC – The Huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine) is published, laying the framework for traditional Chinese medicine
  • 4th century BC – Philistion of Locri. Praxagoras distinguishes veins and arteries and determines only arteries pulse
  • 375–295 BC – Diocles of Carystus
  • 354 BC – Critobulus of Cos extracts an arrow from the eye of Phillip II, treating the loss of the eyeball without causing facial disfigurement.
  • 3rd century BC – Philinus of Cos founder of the Empiricist school. Herophilos and Erasistratus practice androtomy. (Dissecting live and dead human beings)
  • 280 BC – Herophilus Dissection studies the nervous system and distinguishes between sensory nerves and motor nerves and the brain. Also the anatomy of the eye and medical terminology such as (in Latin translation “net like” becomes retiform/retina.
  • 270 – Huangfu Mi writes the Zhenjiu Jiayijing (The ABC Compendium of Acupuncture), the first textbook focusing solely on acupuncture
  • 250 BC – Erasistratus studies the brain and distinguishes between the cerebrum and cerebellum physiology of the brain, heart, and eyes, and in the vascular, nervous, respiratory, and reproductive systems.
  • 219 – Zhang Zhongjing publishes Shang Han Lun (On Cold Disease Damage).
  • 200 BC – the Charaka Samhita uses a rational approach to the causes and cure of disease and uses objective methods of clinical examination
  • 124–44 BC – Asclepiades of Bithynia
  • 116–27 BC – Marcus Terentius Varro Germ theory of disease No one paid any attention to it.
  • 1st century AD – Rufus of Ephesus; Marcellinus a physician of the first century AD; Numisianus
  • 23 AD – 79 AD – Pliny the Elder writes Natural History
  • c. 25 BC – c. 50 AD – Aulus Cornelius Celsus Medical encyclopedia
  • 50–70 AD – Pedanius Dioscorides writes De Materia Medica – a precursor of modern pharmacopoeias that was in use for almost 1600 years
  • 2nd century AD Aretaeus of Cappadocia
  • 98–138 AD – Soranus of Ephesus
  • 129–216 AD – Galen – Clinical medicine based on observation and experience. The resulting tightly integrated and comprehensive system, offering a complete medical philosophy dominated medicine throughout the Middle Ages and until the beginning of the modern era.

Medical inventions and discoveries after Galen 200 AD

  • d. 260 – Gargilius Martialis, short Latin handbook on Medicines from Vegetables and Fruits
  • 4th century Magnus of Nisibis, Alexandrian doctor and professor book on urine
  • 325–400 – Oribasius 70 volume encyclopedia
  • 362 – Julian orders xenons built, imitating Christian charity (proto hospitals)
  • 369 – Basil of Caesarea founded at Caesarea in Cappadocia an institution (hospital) called Basilias, with several buildings for patients, nurses, physicians, workshops, and schools
  • 375 – Ephrem the Syrian opened a hospital at Edessa. They spread out and specialized nosocomia for the sick, brephotrophia for foundlings, orphanotrophia for orphans, ptochia for the poor, xenodochia for poor or infirm pilgrims, and gerontochia for the old.
  • 400 – The first hospital in Latin Christendom was founded by Fabiola in Rome
  • 420 – Caelius Aurelianus a doctor from Sicca Veneria (El-Kef, Tunisia) handbook On Acute and Chronic Diseases in Latin.
  • 447 – Cassius Felix of Cirta (Constantine, Ksantina, Algeria), medical handbook drew on Greek sources, Methodist and Galenist in Latin
  • 480–547 Benedict of Nursia founder of “monastic medicine”
  • 484–590 – Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus
  • fl. 511–534 – Anthimus Greek: Ἄνθιμος
  • 536 – Sergius of Reshaina (died 536) – A Christian theologian-physician who translated thirty-two of Galen’s works into Syriac and wrote medical treatises of his own
  • 525–605 – Alexander of Tralles Alexander Trallianus
  • 500–550 – Aetius of Amida Encyclopedia 4 books each divided into 4 sections
  • second half of 6th century building of xenodocheions/bimārestāns by the Nestorians under the Sasanians, would evolve into the complex secular “Islamic hospital”, which combined lay practice and Galenic teaching
  • 550–630 Stephanus of Athens
  • 560–636 – Isidore of Seville
  • c. 620 Aaron of Alexandria Syriac. He wrote 30 books on medicine, the “Pandects”. He was the first author in antiquity who mentioned the diseases of smallpox and measles translated by Māsarjawaih a Syrian Jew and Physician, into Arabic about A. D. 683
  • c. 630 – Paul of Aegina Encyclopedia in 7 books very detailed surgery used by Albucasis
  • 790–869 – Leo Itrosophist also Mathematician or Philosopher wrote “Epitome of Medicine”
  • c. 800–873 – Al-Kindi (Alkindus) De Gradibus
  • 820 – Benedictine hospital founded, School of Salerno would grow around it
  • 857d – Mesue the elder (Yūḥannā ibn Māsawayh) Syriac Christian
  • c. 830–870 – Hunayn ibn Ishaq (Johannitius) Syriac-speaking Christian also knew Greek and Arabic. Translator and author of several medical tracts.
  • c. 838–870 – Ali ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari, writes an encyclopedia of medicine in Arabic.
  • c. 910d – Ishaq ibn Hunayn
  • 9th century – Yahya ibn Sarafyun a Syriac physician Johannes Serapion, Serapion the Elder
  • c. 865–925 – Rhazes pediatrics, and makes the first clear distinction between smallpox and measles in his al-Hawi.
  • d. 955 – Isaac Judaeus Isḥāq ibn Sulaymān al-Isrāʾīlī Egyptian born Jewish physician
  • 913–982 – Shabbethai Donnolo alleged founding father of School of Salerno wrote in Hebrew
  • d. 982–994 – ‘Ali ibn al-‘Abbas al-Majusi Haly Abbas
  • 1000 – Albucasis (936–1018) surgery Kitab al-Tasrif, surgical instruments.
  • d. 1075 – Ibn Butlan Christian physician of Baghdad Tacuinum sanitatis the Arabic original and most of the Latin copies, are in tabular format
  • 1018–1087 – Michael Psellos or Psellus a Byzantine monk, writer, philosopher, politician, and historian. several books on medicine
  • c. 1030 – Avicenna The Canon of Medicine The Canon remains a standard textbook in Muslim and European universities until the 18th century.
  • c. 1071–1078 – Simeon Seth or Symeon Seth an 11th-century Jewish Byzantine translated Arabic works into Greek
  • 1084 – First documented hospital in England Canterbury
  • 1087d – Constantine the African
  • 1083–1153 – Anna Komnene, Latinized as Comnena
  • 1095 – Congregation of the Antonines, was founded to treat victims of “St. Anthony’s fire” a skin disease.
  • late 11th early 12th century – Trotula
  • 1123 – St Bartholomew’s Hospital founded by the court jester Rahere Augustine nuns originally cared for the patients. Mental patients were accepted along with others
  • 1127 – Stephen of Antioch translated the work of Haly Abbas
  • 1100–1161 – Avenzoar Teacher of Averroes
  • 1170 – Rogerius Salernitanus composed his Chirurgia also known as The Surgery of Roger
  • 1126–1198 – Averroes
  • c. 1161d – Matthaeus Platearius

1200–1499 medical inventions and discoveries

  • 1203 – Innocent III organized the hospital of Santo Spirito in Rome inspiring others all over Europe
  • c. 1210–1277 – William of Saliceto, also known as Guilielmus de Saliceto
  • 1210–1295 – Taddeo Alderotti – Scholastic medicine
  • 1240 Bartholomeus Anglicus
  • 1242 – Ibn an-Nafis suggests that the right and left ventricles of the heart are separate and discovers the pulmonary circulation and coronary circulation
  • c. 1248 – Ibn al-Baitar wrote on botany and pharmacy, studied animal anatomy and medicine veterinary medicine.
  • 1249 – Roger Bacon writes about convex lens spectacles for treating long-sightedness
  • 1257 – 1316 Pietro d’Abano also known as Petrus De Apono or Aponensis
  • 1260 – Louis IX established Les Quinze-vingt; originally a retreat for the blind, it became a hospital for eye diseases, and is now one of the most important medical centers in Paris
  • c. 1260–1320 Henri de Mondeville
  • 1284 – Mansur hospital of Cairo
  • c. 1275 – c. 1328 Joannes Zacharias Actuarius a Byzantine physician wrote the last great compendium of Byzantine medicine
  • 1275–1326 – Mondino de Luzzi “Mundinus” carried out the first systematic human dissections since Herophilus of Chalcedon and Erasistratus of Ceos 1500 years earlier.
  • 1288 – The hospital of Santa Maria Nuova founded in Florence, it was strictly medical.
  • 1300 – concave lens spectacles to treat myopia developed in Italy.
  • 1310 – Pietro d’Abano’s Conciliator (c. 1310)
  • d. 1348 – Gentile da Foligno
  • 1292–1350 – Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziya
  • 1306–1390 – John of Arderne
  • d. 1368 – Guy de Chauliac
  • f. 1460 – Heinrich von Pfolspeundt
  • 1443–1502 – Antonio Benivieni Pathological anatomy
  • 1493–1541 – Paracelsus On the relationship between medicine and surgery surgery book

1500–1799 medical inventions and discoveries

  • early 16th century:
    • Paracelsus, an alchemist by trade, rejects occultism and pioneers the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. Burns the books of Avicenna, Galen, and Hippocrates.
    • Hieronymus Fabricius His “Surgery” is mostly that of Celsus, Paul of Aegina, and Abulcasis citing them by name.
    • Caspar Stromayr
  • 1500?–1561 Pierre Franco
  • Ambroise Paré (1510–1590) pioneered the treatment of gunshot wounds.
    • Bartholomeo Maggi at Bologna, Felix Wurtz of Zurich, Léonard Botal in Paris, and the Englishman Thomas Gale (surgeon), (the diversity of their geographical origins attests to the widespread interest of surgeons in the problem), all published works urging similar treatment to Paré’s. But it was Paré’s writings which were the most influential.
  • 1518 – College of Physicians founded now known as Royal College of Physicians of London is a British professional body of doctors of general medicine and its subspecialties. It received the royal charter in 1518
  • 1510–1590 – Ambroise Paré surgeon
  • 1540–1604 – William Clowes – Surgical chest for military surgeons
  • 1543 – Andreas Vesalius publishes De Fabrica Corporis Humani which corrects Greek medical errors and revolutionizes European medicine
  • 1546 – Girolamo Fracastoro proposes that epidemic diseases are caused by transferable seedlike entities
  • 1550–1612 – Peter Lowe
  • 1553 – Miguel Serveto describes the circulation of blood through the lungs. He is accused of heresy and burned at the stake
  • 1556 – Amato Lusitano describes venous valves in the Ázigos vein
  • 1559 – Realdo Colombo describes the circulation of blood through the lungs in detail
  • 1563 – Garcia de Orta founds tropical medicine with his treatise on Indian diseases and treatments
  • 1570–1643 – John Woodall Ship surgeons used lemon juice to treat scurvy wrote “The Surgions Mate”
  • 1590 – Microscope was invented, which played a huge part in medical advancement
  • 1596 – Li Shizhen publishes Běncǎo Gāngmù or Compendium of Materia Medica
  • 1603 – Girolamo Fabrici studies leg veins and notices that they have valves which allow blood to flow only toward the heart
  • 1621–1676 – Richard Wiseman
  • 1628 – William Harvey explains the circulatory system in Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus
  • 1683–1758 – Lorenz Heister
  • 1688–1752 – William Cheselden
  • 1701 – Giacomo Pylarini gives the first smallpox inoculations in Europe. They were widely practiced in the East before then.
  • 1714–1789 – Percivall Pott
  • 1720 – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
  • 1728–1793 – John Hunter
  • 1736 – Claudius Aymand performs the first successful appendectomy
  • 1744–1795 – Pierre-Joseph Desault First surgical periodical
  • 1747 – James Lind discovers that citrus fruits prevent scurvy
  • 1749–1806 – Benjamin Bell – Leading surgeon of his time and father of a surgical dynasty, author of “A System of Surgery”
  • 1752–1832 – Antonio Scarpa
  • 1763–1820 – John Bell
  • 1766–1842 – Dominique Jean Larrey Surgeon to Napoleon
  • 1768–1843 – Astley Cooper surgeon lectures principles and practice
  • 1774–1842 – Charles Bell, surgeon
  • 1774 – Joseph Priestley discovers nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, ammonia, hydrogen chloride, and oxygen
  • 1777–1835 – Baron Guillaume Dupuytren – Head surgeon at Hôtel-Dieu de Paris, The age Dupuytren
  • 1785 – William Withering publishes “An Account of the Foxglove” the first systematic description of digitalis in treating dropsy
  • 1790 – Samuel Hahnemann rages against the prevalent practice of bloodletting as a universal cure and founds homeopathy
  • 1796 – Edward Jenner develops a smallpox vaccination method
  • 1799 – Humphry Davy discovers the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide

1800–1899 medical inventions and discoveries

  • 1800 – Humphry Davy announces the anaesthetic properties of nitrous oxide.
  • 1803–1805 – Morphine was first isolated by Friedrich Sertürner, this is generally believed to be the first isolation of an active ingredient from a plant.
  • 1813–1883 – James Marion Sims vesico-vaganial surgery. Father of surgical gynecology.
  • 1816 – Rene Laennec invents the stethoscope.
  • 1827–1912 – Joseph Lister antiseptic surgery. Father of modern surgery
  • 1818 – James Blundell performs the first successful human transfusion.
  • 1842 – Crawford Long performs the first surgical operation using anesthesia with ether.
  • 1845 – John Hughes Bennett first describes leukemia as a blood disorder.
  • 1846 – First painless surgery with a general anesthetic.
  • 1847 – Ignaz Semmelweis discovers how to prevent puerperal fever.
  • 1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell is the first woman to gain a medical degree in the United States.
  • 1850 – Female Medical College of Pennsylvania (later Woman’s Medical College), the first medical college in the world to grant degrees to women, is founded in Philadelphia.
  • 1858 – Rudolf Carl Virchow 13 October 1821 – 5 September 1902 his theories of cellular pathology spelled the end of Humoral medicine.
  • 1867 – Lister publishes Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery, based partly on Pasteur’s work.
  • 1870 – Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch establish the germ theory of disease.
  • 1878 – Ellis Reynolds Shipp graduates from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and begins practice in Utah.
  • 1879 – First vaccine for cholera.
  • 1881 – Louis Pasteur develops an anthrax vaccine.
  • 1882 – Louis Pasteur develops a rabies vaccine.
  • 1890 – Emil von Behring discovers antitoxins and uses them to develop tetanus and diphtheria vaccines.
  • 1895 – Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers medical use of X-rays in medical imaging

1900–1999 medical inventions and discoveries

  • 1901 – Karl Landsteiner discovers the existence of different human blood types
  • 1901 – Alois Alzheimer identifies the first case of what becomes known as Alzheimer’s disease
  • 1903 – Willem Einthoven invents electrocardiography (ECG/EKG)
  • 1906 – Frederick Hopkins suggests the existence of vitamins and suggests that a lack of vitamins causes scurvy and rickets
  • 1907 – Paul Ehrlich develops a chemotherapeutic cure for sleeping sickness
  • 1907 – Henry Stanley Plummer develops the first structured patient record and clinical number (Mayo clinic)
  • 1908 – Victor Horsley and R. Clarke invents the stereotactic method
  • 1909 – First intrauterine device described by Richard Richter.
  • 1910 – Hans Christian Jacobaeus performs the first laparoscopy on humans
  • 1917 – Julius Wagner-Jauregg discovers the malarial fever shock therapy for general paresis of the insane
  • 1921 – Edward Mellanby discovers vitamin D and shows that its absence causes rickets
  • 1921 – Frederick Banting and Charles Best discover insulin – important for the treatment of diabetes
  • 1921 – Fidel Pagés pioneers epidural anesthesia
  • 1923 – First vaccine for diphtheria
  • 1926 – First vaccine for pertussis
  • 1927 – First vaccine for tuberculosis
  • 1927 – First vaccine for tetanus
  • 1928 – Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin
  • 1929 – Hans Berger discovers human electroencephalography
  • 1930 – first successful sex reassignment surgery performed on Lili Elbe in Dresden, Germany.
  • 1932 – Gerhard Domagk develops a chemotherapeutic cure for streptococcus
  • 1933 – Manfred Sakel discovers insulin shock therapy
  • 1935 – Ladislas J. Meduna discovers metrazol shock therapy
  • 1935 – First vaccine for yellow fever
  • 1936 – Egas Moniz discovers prefrontal lobotomy for treating mental diseases; Enrique Finochietto develops the now ubiquitous self-retaining thoracic retractor
  • 1938 – Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini discover electroconvulsive therapy
  • 1938 – Howard Florey and Ernst Chain investigate Penicillin and attempted to mass-produce it and tested it on the policeman Albert Alexander (police officer) who recovered but died due to a lack of Penicillin
  • 1943 – Willem J. Kolff build the first dialysis machine
  • 1944 – Disposable catheter – David S. Sheridan
  • 1946 – Chemotherapy – Alfred G. Gilman and Louis S. Goodman
  • 1947 – Defibrillator – Claude Beck
  • 1948 – Acetaminophen – Julius Axelrod, Bernard Brodie
  • 1949 – First implant of the intraocular lens, by Sir Harold Ridley
  • 1949 – Mechanical assistor for anesthesia – John Emerson
  • 1952 – Jonas Salk develops the first polio vaccine (available in 1955)
  • 1952 – Cloning – Robert Briggs and Thomas King
  • 1953 – Heart-lung machine – John Heysham Gibbon
  • 1953 – Medical ultrasonography – Inge Edler
  • 1954 – Joseph Murray performs the first human kidney transplant (on identical twins)
  • 1954 – Ventouse – Tage Malmstrom
  • 1955 – Tetracycline – Lloyd Conover
  • 1956 – Metered-dose inhaler – 3M
  • 1957 – William Grey Walter invents the brain EEG topography (toposcope)
  • 1958 – Pacemaker – Rune Elmqvist
  • 1959 – In vitro fertilization – Min Chueh Chang
  • 1960 – Invention of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • 1960 – First combined oral contraceptive approved by the FDA
  • 1962 – Hip replacement – John Charnley
  • 1962 – Beta-blocker James W. Black
  • 1962 – First oral polio vaccine (Sabin)
  • 1963 – Artificial heart – Paul Winchell
  • 1963 – Thomas Starzl performs the first human liver transplant
  • 1963 – James Hardy performs the first human lung transplant
  • 1963 – Valium (diazepam) – Leo H. Sternbach
  • 1964 – First vaccine for measles
  • 1965 – Frank Pantridge installs the first portable defibrillator
  • 1965 – First commercial ultrasound
  • 1966 – C. Walton Lillehei performs the first human pancreas transplant
  • 1966 – Rubella Vaccine – Harry Martin Meyer and Paul D. Parkman
  • 1967 – First vaccine for mumps
  • 1967 – Christiaan Barnard performs the first human heart transplant
  • 1968 – Powered prothesis – Samuel Alderson
  • 1968 – Controlled drug delivery – Alejandro Zaffaron
  • 1969 – Balloon catheter – Thomas Fogarty
  • 1969 – Cochlear implant – William House
  • 1970 – Cyclosporine, the first effective immunosuppressive drug is introduced in organ transplant practice
  • 1971 – MMR Vaccine – developed by Maurice Hilleman
  • 1971 – Genetically modified organisms – Ananda Chakrabarti
  • 1971 – Magnetic resonance imaging – Raymond Vahan Damadian
  • 1971 – Computed tomography (CT or CAT Scan) – Godfrey Hounsfield
  • 1971 – Transdermal patches – Alejandro Zaffaroni
  • 1971 – Sir Godfrey Hounsfield invents the first commercial CT scanner
  • 1972 – Insulin pump Dean Kamen
  • 1973 – Laser eye surgery (LASIK) – Mani Lal Bhaumik
  • 1974 – Liposuction – Giorgio Fischer
  • 1976 – First commercial PET scanner
  • 1978 – Last fatal case of smallpox
  • 1979 – Antiviral drugs – George Hitchings and Gertrude Elion
  • 1980 – Raymond Damadian builds the first commercial MRI scanner
  • 1980 – Lithotripter – Dornier Research Group
  • 1980 – First vaccine for hepatitis B – Baruch Samuel Blumberg
  • 1981 – Artificial skin – John F. Burke and Ioannis V Yannas
  • 1981 – Bruce Reitz performs the first human heart-lung combined transplant
  • 1982 – Human insulin – Eli Lilly
  • Interferon cloning – Sidney Pestka
  • 1985 – Automated DNA sequencer – Leroy Hood and Lloyd Smith
  • 1985 – Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) – Kary Mullis
  • 1985 – Surgical robot – Yik San Kwoh
  • 1985 – DNA fingerprinting – Alec Jeffreys
  • 1985 – Capsule endoscopy – Tarun Mullick
  • 1986 – Fluoxetine HCl – Eli Lilly and Co
  • 1987 – Ben Carson, leading a 70-member medical team in Germany, was the first to separate occipital craniopagus twins.
  • 1987 – commercially available Statins – Merck & Co.
  • 1987 – Tissue engineering – Joseph Vacanti & Robert Langer
  • 1988 – Intravascular stent – Julio Palmaz
  • 1988 – Laser cataract surgery – Patricia Bath
  • 1989 – Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) – Alan Handyside
  • 1989 – DNA microarray – Stephen Fodor
  • 1990 – Gamow bag® – Igor Gamow
  • 1992 – First vaccine for hepatitis A available
  • 1992 – Electroactive polymers (artificial muscle) – SRI International
  • 1992 – Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) – Andre van Steirteghem
  • 1995 – Adult stem cell use in the regeneration of tissues and organs in vivo – B. G Matapurkar U.S. International Patent
  • 1996 – Dolly the Sheep cloned
  • 1998 – Stem cell therapy – James Thomson

2000–present medical inventions and discoveries

  • 2000 – The Human Genome Project draft was completed.
  • 2001 – The first telesurgery was performed by Jacques Marescaux.
  • 2003 – Carlo Urbani, of Doctors without Borders alerted the World Health Organization to the threat of the SARS virus, triggering the most effective response to an epidemic in history. Urbani succumbs to the disease himself in less than a month.
  • 2005 – Jean-Michel Dubernard performs the first partial face transplant.
  • 2006 – First HPV vaccine approved.
  • 2006 – The second rotavirus vaccine approved (first was withdrawn).
  • 2007 – The visual prosthetics (bionic eye) Argus II.
  • 2008 – Laurent Lantieri performs the first full-face transplant.
  • 2011 – first successful Uterus transplant from a deceased donor in Turkey
  • 2013 – The first kidney was grown in vitro in the U.S.
  • 2013 – The first human liver was grown from stem cells in Japan.
  • 2014 – A 3D printer is used for the first-ever skull transplant.
  • 2016 – The first-ever artificial pancreas was created
  • 2019 – 3D-print heart from human patient’s cells.

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