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Gustav Killian: beyond his dehiscence

  • S J Prowse (a1) and Z Makura (a1)


For most doctors, Gustav Killian is best known for his eponymous pharyngeal dehiscence. Otorhinolaryngologists may also be familiar with his contributions to rhinology by way of his well-known incision and speculum. Few, however, will be aware of the true significance of his contributions to medicine. Killian was at the forefront of advances in ENT surgery at the turn of the twentieth century. From his early years to his revolutionary work on bronchoscopy and a narrowly missed Nobel Prize, this paper reviews the life and works of a most prolific and often overlooked surgical innovator.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mr S J Prowse, Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, The General Infirmary at Leeds, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK Fax: +44 (0)113 392 3165 E-mail:


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6 Meirelles, R, Neves-Pinto, R. Gustav Killian – a milestone in otolaryngology [in Portuguese]. Arq Int Otorrinolaringol 2005;9:315
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9 Dundas-Grant, J. Obituraries: Gustav Killian. J Laryngol Otol 1921;36:316–18
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11 Anonymous. Obituary, Professor Wilhelm Hack. BMJ 1887;11:1314
12 Killian, G. On the pharyngeal tonsil and bursa [in German]. Morphol Jahrb 1888;24:618
13 The tonsils and the adenoid tissue of the pharynx. J Laryngol Rhinol 1890;4:455–9
14 Killian, G. Submucous window resection of the nasal septum [in German]. Archiv für Laryngologie und Rhinologie 1904;16:362–87
15 Killian, G. The radical Killian operation for chronic suppurative frontal sinusitis [in German]. Archiv für Laryngologie und Rhinologie 1903;13:2888
16 Killian, H. Behind us is the only Lord God-A surgeon remembers [in German]. Munich: Kindler, 1957
17 Killian, G. The mouth of the esophagus. Laryngoscope 1907;17:421–8
18 Rohl, JCG. Wilhelm II: The Kaiser's Personal Monarchy, 1888–1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998
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20 Killian, G. On suspension laryngology and its practical use. BMJ 1914;1:1181–2
21 Killian, G, Voss, O. Handbook of Medical Experience in the World War [in German]. Leipzig: Johann Ambrosis Barth, 1921


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Gustav Killian: beyond his dehiscence

  • S J Prowse (a1) and Z Makura (a1)


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