Feb 23, 2022

Did you know that Ayurvedic Doctors can do Surgery in India?

Postgraduate students in Ayurveda can perform a variety of surgical procedures including general surgery, ENT, ophthalmology, and dental procedures. The Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) in its gazette notification allowed Ayurvedic Post Graduates to receive formal training for such operations.

What law allows this?

The Central Council of Indian Medicine, made amendments to the The Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurvedic Education) Regulations, 2016 to allow postgraduate (PG) scholar graduates of Shalya and Shalakya to perform specified surgeries. Shalya (general surgery) and Shalakya (Eye, Nose, Throat, Head and Dentistry) are two streams of post graduate education in Ayurveda.


What is the role of the Central Council of Indian Medicine?

The Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) is an authority created under the law known as the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 and is governed by the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy). The main role of the CCIM is to frame and implement various syllabi and curricula of Indian systems of medicine for undergraduate and postgraduate students. This includes streams of medicine including Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. All colleges and universities which teach such information must follow the minimum standards of education given by the CCIM.


Who can perform surgeries?

Only PG students who have the following degrees can perform the surgeries specified:

  • Ms (Ayurved) Shalya Tantra (General Surgery), or 
  • Ms (Ayurved) Shalakya Tantra (Diseases Of Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat, Head, Oro-dentistry).


Through this new law, the PG scholars of Shalya and Shalakya will receive training to enable them to perform specific surgeries independently. The amendment lists out only specific surgical procedures and does not allow Shalya and Shalakya Post Graduates to take up any other types of surgical procedures.


What kind of surgical procedures can be done? 


Some examples of surgical procedures that can be performed by a MS Shalya Graduate includes Skin Grafting, Surgeries for tumours, Circumcisions, traumatic wound management etc. For MS Shalakya graduates, examples of surgical procedures include surgeries for the diseases of the eye, root canal treatment, tooth extractions etc. To read the complete list of surgeries that can be performed see here.


Will the guidelines that apply to modern medicine practitioners apply to ayurvedic surgeons?


The Indian Medical Association (IMA) have issued public statements resisting this amendment and are vocal about how it may result in mixing systems of ayurveda with modern medicine. However, the Ministry of AYUSH clarified that the details of the techniques, procedures and surgical performances will be as per the syllabus of the Post Graduate courses issued by the CCIM for ayurveda colleges where the Shalya and Shalakya degrees are available. With the 2020 amendment introducing several new procedures, the Ministry clarified that the same syllabi and courses by the CCIM would be continued so that it does not result in a mixing of procedures of modern medicine which is governed by the IMA as well as the Guidelines for General Surgery by Clinical Establishments Act, 2010.