Cesarean Section, the taking of a child from the womb by cutting. Sextus Julius, an ancestor of Julius Caesar, is said to have come into the world by this operation, and to have received accordingly the name of Caesar (Lat. cmdere, to cut), which was afterward retained as a family designation by his direct descendants; and the name Csesarean section was subsequently given to the operation itself. The operation was first performed on women who died in childbirth before the child was born, as a means of saving the life of the infant, which would otherwise have been lost, as well as that of the mother. After the publication of the work of Eucharius Roslein, at Worms, in 1513 ("The Rose Garden for Midwives and Pregnant Women "), and the improvements in obstetric science made by Vesalius in Padua, 1543, the Caesarean operation was not only performed in all such cases, but was commanded by law, as a means of saving the life of the child. In 1581 Frangois Rousset, a surgeon in Paris, published a treatise in which he gave proofs of the possibility of safely performing the Caesarean operation on the living mother, in cases of malformation and impossible natural delivery.
He also first gave the present name to this operation, which from that time forward has often been performed on the living mother with complete success, though not invariably. - When from any cause the anteroposterior diameter of the superior strait of the pelvis, or the transverse diameter of the lower strait, is not more than 1 1/2 inch, the head of the child cannot pass, and there is no possibility of delivery per vias naturales. It then becomes necessary, if the child be living, to resort to the Caesarean operation as the only means of delivery. Dr. Churchill, one of the highest authorities on this question, states " that in cases where the patient cannot be delivered by any other means, and where, consequently, both mother and child would inevitably die, a chance of saving the lives of both is afforded by the Caesarean section." In this operation the walls of the abdomen are carefully opened in front of the uterus, which is also opened, and the child is taken directly from the womb, in lieu of passing through the natural descent. The best period for operating is at the commencement of the labor, provided there be no doubt as to its necessity.
The strength of the parturient woman is then unimpaired; she can bear the operation better, and runs less risk of inflammation.