Battlefield surgery in the Napoleonic era was some of the earliest modern surgery, focusing chiefly on amputating severely broken or damaged limbs. Some surgeons advocated immediate amputation to take advantage of the effects grievous wounds had on the body: numbness around the injury and low blood pressure brought on by shock. Removing a limb required shutting off as much blood flow to the limb as possible by the application of tourniquets. A knife cut away the flesh in what would later become a stump. Arteries were then clamped off and a bone saw would make quick work of a femur or tibia. Arteries were then stitched closed, the wound bandaged, covered and left to heal.
Dominique Larrey was a pioneer in battlefield surgery, the first to use ambulances to bring first-aid to soldiers in battle and the first to use triage in determining which wounded to evacuate. He participated in dozens of battles with the French armies and was eventually made a baron by Napoleon.