Steel ovarian cyst trocar and clamp, by Mathieu, French, 1867-1903
A trocar is a sharp pointed instrument used to puncture a body part to drain fluid. This ovarian cyst trocar and clamp drained ovarian cysts, a process known as ‘tapping’. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs surrounded by a thin membrane inside an ovary. Some cysts can grow large, causing great discomfort to the patient and possibly requiring surgery. An operation to remove an ovary or ovarian tumour is called an ovariectomy. Robert Houston of Glasgow is said to have performed the first ovariectomy in 1701, and his patient survived. However, women with ovarian cysts had limited options for treatment prior to the advent of anaesthesia and antisepsis in the mid-1800s.