Educated at the Great Windmill Street School and St George’s Hospital. On his application as an assistant surgeon at St George’s in 1834, however, he was turned down in favour of Edward Cutler. Feeling he had been unfairly treated because Cutler was a relative of Benjamin Collins Brodie, Lane founded a rival anatomical school nearby at Grosvenor Place; the school soon became popular and was one of the schools attended by the pupils from St George’s Hospital.
Lane became senior surgeon to St Mary’s Hospital soon after its establishment in 1852, and Lane transferred his pathological and anatomical collections to the new school at St Mary’s Hospital. He also worked at the Lock Hospital. He was one of the original 300 fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons, and a member of the Council. He was also a fellow, member of the Council and vice-president of the Royal Medico-Chirurgical Society.
He was known as a skilled surgeon, and was one of the first to practice ovariotomy. He also performed the first successful blood transfer to treat haemophilia in 1840. He published a series of well-received articles on syphilis, however, being opposed to medical specialisms he refused to continue publishing on the subject.
He retired to Ealing, and died 2 Aug 1892, aged 90. His nephew James Robert Lane and his great-nephew James Ernest Lane continued his work at St Mary’s Hospital and with syphilis.