Adult-sized Schimmelbusch-type anaesthetic mask, 1890-1950. Schimmelbusch masks were placed over the nose and mouth of patients to administer ether or chloroform. A gutter around the face was intended to prevent leakage of the anaesthetic onto the patient, which could cause irritation. German physician Dr Curt Schimmelbusch (1860-1895) designed the mask in 1890 while an assistant surgeon. It was used until around 1950.

The application of anaesthetics via the face presented significant challenges in cases where facial injury had occurred, such as those cases treated at the Queen Mary Hospital, Sidcup, during and after World War I, which specialized in facial reconstruction. Mask inhalation anaesthesia was not always practical or possible and, like other available anaesthetic techniques, did not always protect the airways from obstruction. Working at Sidcup with plastic surgeon Harold Gillies and anaesthetist E. Stanley Rowbotham, Ivan Whiteside Magill developed a technique of nasotracheal intubation for anaesthesia, facilitated by a new variety of angulated forceps (Magill forceps).

Physical Description

Anaesthetic mask frame comprising gutter around face (to prevent leakage of the anaesthetic) and frame with hinged section, which clips open to allow the placement of a cloth to be soaked in the anaesthetic).

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