On August 23, 1768, English surgeon and anatomist Sir Astley Paston Cooper was born. He made historical contributions to otology, vascular surgery, the anatomy and pathology of the mammary glands and testicles, and the pathology and surgery of hernia.
Astley Cooper was born at Brooke Hall in Brooke, Norfolk to Dr Samuel Cooper, a clergyman of the Church of England and Maria Susanna Bransby, the author of several novels. At the age of 16, he was sent to London and placed under Henry Cline, surgeon to St Thomas’ Hospital. At first, Cooper devoted most of his studies to anatomy and also attended the lectures of the famous surgeon John Hunter. Cooper was appointed demonstrator of anatomy at St Thomas’ Hospital, where he later became lecturer. At Guy’s Hospital, Cooper was appointed surgeon in 1800.
At this time, Astley Cooper’s reputation as surgeon was good and after two years at Guy’s Hospital, he was awarded the Copley Medal for two papers he read at the Royal Society of London about the destruction of the tympanic membrane. Cooper significantly participated in the formation of the Medical and Chirurgical Society of London. He published important papers on hernia which increased his fame. In 1813, Cooper was appointed professor of comparative anatomy to the Royal College of Surgeons and was very popular as a lecturer.
In 1820, after removing an infected sebaceous cyst from the head of George IV, Cooper was appointed sergeant surgeon to George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria. To Astley Cooper’s most important contributions to medical science belongs his work in vascular surgery, especially cerebral circulation. Through his experimental techniques, Cooper managed to demonstrate the the effects of bilateral ligation of the carotid arteries and to propose treatment of aneurysms by ligation of the vessel. In the first volume of ‘Medico-Chirurgical Transactions‘, Cooper published his attempt to tie the common carotid artery for treating an aneurysm in a patient, which was followed by an attempt to try the same with the external iliac artery for a femoral aneurysm and he ligated the aorta for an iliac aneurysm. He also served as president of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1827 and again in 1836, and he was elected a vice-president of the Royal Society in 1830
Sir Astley Cooper died on 12 February 1841 in London at age 72.
At yovisto academic video search, you can learn more about the current state of surgery and its future in the TED talk of Dr. Catherine Mohr entitled “Surgery`s Past, Present, and Robotic Future“.
References and Further Reading:
-  Astley Cooper Biography
-  Astley Cooper at Surgeons.net
-  On the anatomy of the breast, by Sir Astley Paston Cooper, 1840
-  Victoria and Albert – A Royal Wedding, SciHi Blog
-  Sir Astley Cooper at Wikidata