The line of thought outlined in this paper, no matter how expressed, is intended to be suggestive rather than dogmatic—inquiring rather than assertive—as indicated by its title. The recent rapid advancement of the surgery of the abdomen has inevitably led to its separation from the general surgical field into a distinct specialty. It finds itself in a new environment, without traditions or statutes for its guidance, and hence with only a comparatively recent experience on which to found its legal or surgical status. For these and other reasons we may not speak in this place except suggestively or inquiringly.
That abdominal surgery now holds a place distinct and apart from other branches of the surgical art, need scarcely be argued here. That it must of necessity be considered a specialty appears reasonable, when we contemplate the nature of the organs dealt with, and the variety in the character of the