Syme, James (1799–1870), British surgeon. Syme was generally recognized as one of the leading surgical authorities of his time. During his lifetime he held the positions of surgeon to the queen in Scotland, senior attending surgeon at the Royal Infirmary, and professor of clinical surgery at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He performed his first amputation at the ankle on a patient suffering from osteomyelitis of the foot. He described the operation in an 1843 medical communication.