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This article was published in The American Surgeon Volume 78, Issue 12, December 2012, Pages 1322-1324.

The published version is available at PMID: 23265119. Copyright © Ingenta


Major contributions to the advancement of surgery occurred at the turn of the 20th century. Theodor Billroth was in the midst of revolutionizing abdominal surgery, whereas Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister were making landmark strides in antisepsis, forever changing the foundations of surgical thinking. Undoubtedly, Theodor Kocher’s (Fig. 1) exposure to these and other giants had a major influence on his career and contributed to his success and ascent as the first, and one of only 10, surgeons ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine.