William Arbuthnot Lane contributed to the advancement of many fields of orthopedics, otolaryngology, and general surgery. He is credited for his "no-touch technique" and the invention of long-handled instruments, some of which are still in use today, to minimize tissue handling. He is most well known for his hypothesis that slowing of gastric contents could cause a variety of ailments and this became known as Lane's disease. Although his surgical treatment of Lane's disease is now defunct, it advanced the surgical technique in colorectal surgery. It seems likely that some of Lane's "autointoxication" patients would be classified today as patients with colonic inertia, diverticulitis, colonic volvulus, and megacolon or, which are all treated with colectomy. Lane was a pioneer in multiple fields and a true general surgeon. He advanced colorectal surgery immensely and propelled the field of surgery into a new era.
Recommended CitationMorris, Mackenzie; Price, Thea; Cowan, Scott W.; Yeo, Charles J.; and Phillips, Benjamin, "William Arbuthnot Lane (1856-1943): Surgical Innovator and His Theory of Autointoxication." (2017). Department of Surgery Gibbon Society Historical Profiles. Paper 48.