Nikolai Ivanovich Pirogov

Nikolai Ivanovich Pirogov (Никола́й Ива́нович Пирого́в) (1810-1881) was a Russian surgeon, anesthetist and anatomist.

Pirogov, arguably the greatest of all Russian military surgeons and one of the most important figures in the medical history of Russia. Pirogov revolutionized world medicine through his introduction of a triage system to prioritize treatment to the wounded; his demonstration of the efficacy of anesthesia in trauma surgery; the first use of rectal ether; his promotion of conservation in limb amputation; and his introduction of the true profession of nursing in the field.

Key role in the development of anaesthesia in Russia, in 1847 with the Scottish surgeon James Syme (1799-1870), Pirogov was the first in Europe to adopt ether anaesthesia.

  • Born on November 25, 1810, in Moscow
  • 1824-1828 Studied medicine at the University of Moscow
  • 1828-1831 Training in the professorship institute in Dorpat
  • 1833-1835 Perfection of Medical Studies in Berlin and Göttingen
  • 1837 – Professor of Theoretical and Practical Surgery at the University of Dorpat
  • 1838 – Research stay in Paris (February – June). Visit to the clinics of Velpeau; Lisfranc and Dupuytren
  • 1840 – Full Professor of Surgery at the Medico-Surgical Academy of St. Petersburg
  • 1841-1856 Professor of Hospital Surgery, Pathological and Surgical Anatomy at the Medico-Surgical Academy of St. Petersburg and Head of the Surgical Department 2nd Military Hospital
  • 1850 – Consular Surgeon at Maksimilian Hospital and St. Petersburg Children’s Hospital
  • 1856-1858 Curator of the Odessa Lehrbezirk
  • Died on December 5, 1881 in Višnja, Podol’sk Governorate (now Vinnycja, Ukraine)

The greatest of Russian surgeons, and one of the greatest military surgeons of all time, was Nikolai Ivanovich Pirogoff..

Colonel Dr. Fielding Hudson Garrison, 1929

Medical Eponyms
Pirogov amputation (1854)

Amputation of the ankle joint in which the posterior process of the calcaneus is retained in the skin flap and opposes the distal cut of the tibia.

Other eponyms
  • Pirogov mask and apparatus for inhalation of ether
  • Pirogov angle – angle formed by junction of the internal jugular and subclavian veins
  • Pirogov Glacier in Antarctica;
  • Pirogov Hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria,
  • 2506 Pirogov asteroid (1976);
  • Pirogov Gold Medal (Soviet Union humanitarian prize)

  • Russian: Никола́й Ива́нович Пирого́в. German: ‘Nikolai Iwanowitsch Pirogow‘. Anglicised transcription ‘Pirogov for the Russian surname ‘Пирогов‘. Alternate transcriptions include ‘Pirogoff’ and ‘Pirogow’. German: ‘Nikolai Iwanowitsch Pirogow‘.
  • His body is preserved using embalming techniques he himself developed shortly before his death and rests in the village church in Vinnytsia

Major Publications



Eponymous terms

Пирогов 1947 (Григорий Козинцев)


Russian Emergency Physician

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