Some Key Dates in Surgery at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

1889 — According to popular accounts, Dr. Charlie, assisted by his brother and father, performed the first operation at Saint Marys Hospital on Sept. 30, 1889. The operation removed a cancerous tumor of the eye.

1905 — Dr. Louis Wilson develops a rapid way to diagnose surgical specimens (quick-frozen tissue sections stained with methylene blue), which allows Mayo surgeons to explore, diagnose and repair, all in one operation.

1955 — Mayo is among the first to perform successful open-heart surgery to repair congenital heart abnormalities after refining the Gibbon heart-lung bypass machine (thereafter known as the Mayo-Gibbon heart-lung bypass machine).

1963 — Organ transplantation begins at Mayo. Today, Mayo Clinic has the largest transplant program in the nation.

1969 — The first FDA-approved total hip replacement in the United States was performed at Mayo, heralding the advent of joint replacement.

1981 — The 50-room surgical suite opened in the Mary Brigh Building at Saint Marys Hospital.