Lung physicians performed minor surgical procedures as early as in the 1930s and 1940s, such as canalizing abscesses and artificial pneumothorax of lungs, i.e. collapse therapy. Until the end of the 1940s artificial pneumothorax was the most commonly used special procedure in the treatment of consumption. A long needle was inserted into the pleural cavity letting air flow into it and allowing the diseased lung collapse and be “put to rest. “
Doctors who had specialized in thorax surgery in Helsinki started working as consulting surgeons in the 1950s in most pulmonary sanatoriums, where they performed lung operations on patients. The most common surgery was thoracoplasty, which yielded a better treatment outcome than artificial pneumothorax, the partial/total removal of the lung, or the canalizing of abscesses in open surgery.
The consulting surgeon in 1953 – 1963 at the Central Häme Sanatorium was the assistant chief dr. Sauli Viikari from Turku, who later became the professor of surgery. He had been working as a surgeon in the Sanatorium of Southwest Finland since 1953. Doctor Pentti Antila was specializing in lung tuberculosis in that hospital at that time and was trained by dr. Viikari to assist in lung surgery. In 1955 dr. Antila was appointed as senior ward physician at the Central Häme Sanatorium, thereby becoming again an assistant in operations performed by dr.Viikari. In 1955 Pikonlinna witnessed the completion of a modern operating theatre.
Doctor Ville Autio was specializing in thorax surgery in Turku at the beginning of the 1960s. He became the consulting and operating doctor for the Central Häme Sanatorium in 1963 after Viikari. Soon thereafter dr. Autio was appointed as the chief physician of the I surgical department in the newly opened Tampere Central Hospital. He started in this position in 1964. Autio brought along with him from Turku to Tampere a thorax surgeon, dr. Hannu Markkula, who assumed responsibility for the consultations at Pikonlinna.