Von Kern, Vincenz

Vincenz von Kern (1760-1829)

The Austrian surgeon Vincenz von Kern was regarded by his contemporaries as an experienced master of the lateral lithotomy. In 1803 Kern visited Francesco Pajola (1741-1816) in Venice to learn from the master himself the new method of lateral lithotomy. In 1805 Vincenz von Kern was appointed to the Chair of Surgery of the Vienna University and in 1807 he succeeded in the foundation of a surgical operating institute at the Vienna General Hospital.

He dedicated a major part of his life’s work in surgery to the perfection of this method. In 1828 Vincenz von Kern published his principal work “The calculous diseases of the bladder, related ills and  the cystotomy in both sexes” in which he claimed to have carried out lateral lithotomy 334 times, losing only 31 patients. The book also included nine copper engravings describing the surgery table, the instruments, the technique and the stones.

When Kern published his book in 1828, the great era of perineal lithotomy was over. Lithotrity had originated in Paris five years earlier and conquered the world.