Wonders and unbelievable things have happened in the world of medical practice, notable among them is Leonid Rogozov, the first and only doctor to have successfully performed and appendectomy on himself and survived it- lived to tell his story.

While doing a scientific research in Antarctica, Dr. Leonid Rogozov has his appendix burst. With no surgeon nearby, he decided to handle the operation himself. In the end, he recovered well and went on to live a long and happy life .

Read the story below as culled from Wikipedia….

On the morning of 29 April 1961, Rogozov experienced general weakness, nausea, and moderate fever, and later pain in the lower right portion of the abdomen. None of the possible conservative treatment measures helped. By 30 April signs of localised peritonitis became apparent, and his condition worsened considerably by the evening. Mirny, the nearest Soviet research station, was more than 1,600 km (1,000 mi) from Novolazarevskaya. Antarctic research stations of other countries did not have an aircraft. Severe blizzard conditions prevented aircraft landing in any case. Rogozov had no option but to perform the operation on himself.

Leonid Rozogov
Badass doctor, Leonid Rogozov performed surgery on himself. Credit: Facebook

The operation started at 02:00 local time on 1 May with the help of a driver and meteorologist, who were providing instruments and holding a mirror to observe areas not directly visible, while Rogozov was in a semi-reclining position, half-turned to his left side. A solution of 0.5% novocaine was used for local anaesthesia of the abdominal wall. Rogozov made a 10–12 cm incision of the abdominal wall, and while opening the peritoneum he accidentally injured the cecum and had to suture it. Then he proceeded to expose the appendix. According to his report, the appendix was found to have a dark stain at its base, and Rogozov estimated it would have burst within a day. The appendix was resected and antibiotics were applied directly into the peritoneal cavity. General weakness and nausea developed about 30–40 minutes after the start of the operation so that short pauses for rest were repeatedly needed after that. By about 04:00 the operation was complete.

After the operation gradual improvement occurred in the signs of peritonitis and in the general condition of Rogozov. Body temperature returned to normal after five days, and the stitches were removed seven days after the operation. He resumed his regular duties in about two weeks.

Badass doctor who performed surgery on himself in 1961
Credit: Americanmen

The self-surgery captured the imagination of the Soviet public at the time. In 1961 he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. The incident resulted in a change of policy, and thereafter, extensive health checks were mandatory for personnel to be deployed on such expeditions.

As at when he performed the appendix surgery on himself, he was 27 years old, he later lived for another 39 years before he died at 66 years in year 2000 of lung cancer. He was described in some quarters as a badass doctor.

Self surgery in the world
Smiling Rogozov
Credit: BBC


  1. He wasn’t the first to do it. Surgeon Evan O’Neill Kane performed his own appendectomy in 1921, although in much milder conditions than Leonid faced. Leonid’s appendix hadn’t ruptured when he performed the surgery, by his own account he had about another day. Still a pretty crazy story.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here