I think the Smithsonian is missing an exhibit

From a patient recently:


It's a truss

I’ve never seen one, but I’d read about them.


  1. Yes, but what is it? Inquiring minds want to know.

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. That, gentlemen, is a truss.

  4. Yeah, and it’s older than dirt. I would have thought WWII, except for the velcro on the attaching belt.

  5. Do’t let the velcro fool you, it’s taped on. It probably originally had a leather belt that wore out many years ago.

    My father used to wear one, he refused to have surgery. Used to call the doctor a “quack” for wanting to repair his hernia.

  6. I was going to guess homemade chastity belt……..P

  7. Now speaking of the Smithsonian, when I graduated from high school just a (cough) few years ago, our class went to Washington and saw at least parts of the Smithsonian. There used to be a medical museum of sorts, but one of the curious “items” there was, and I’m not making this up, John Dillinger’s penis.

    Yes, that was a different era indeed.

  8. Goatwhacker says:

    I finished my residency in 1988 and have run into a few men who still used a truss. They didn’t want to have surgery for some reason or another, and didn’t mind wearing it.

  9. Learning has occurred!

    A truss-used in place of hernia repair surgery.

    That’s awesome, haha! Compared to today’s technology, that looks like a duct tape solution (no offense to anyone who wears one).

  10. TheNewGuy says:

    At least you didn’t put up a picture of a pessary.

  11. erscutmonkey says:

    I went to Israel for med school and I saw them all of the time. I’m guessing that they don’t work because I don’t see them around anymore, or simply no one important has figured out any way to make lots of money on it.

  12. Actually, pessaries aren’t ancient outdated pieces of equipment. They’re used and useful quite frequently. Women who have prolapse/pelvic floor/incontinence problems who are too ill for surgery. Women with the above who haven’t completed childbearing. To determine if prolapse repair or an incontinence repair will fix the symptoms. Some women don’t like the idea of surgery (once ina while, people get scarring or other complications from prolapse/incontinence repairs). Some people use them for cervical incompetence (evidence is lacking).

    They’re still made, and I’m a new-ish residency grad, and I learned how to fit, install, and teach women about them.

  13. Hey, what’s wrong with duct tape?

  14. TheNewGuy says:


    I know… I actually have run across the occasional pessary in the ER (one or two in ten years). It’s something, however, that I was never educated on in Residency or medical school.

    That sounds like an indictment of my training, but in all fairness to my teachers, it’s not really within the scope of most ER docs’ practices.

  15. megath says:

    Greg P, you are “making this up”. That myth was debunked years ago.

  16. twinsx2 says:

    Hey, I have had two pessarys, one in 1995 and the other in 2003. The fit is very important. But, I am glad that I only needed them while pregnant.