Medical Terminology Daily (MTD) is a blog sponsored by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. as a service to the medical community. We post anatomical, medical or surgical terms, their meaning and usage, as well as biographical notes on anatomists, surgeons, and researchers through the ages. Be warned that some of the images used depict human anatomical specimens.

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A Moment in History

Jean-Louis Petit

Jean Louis Petit
(1674 – 1750)

French surgeon and anatomist, Jean Louis Petit was born in Paris in on March 13, 1674.  His family rented an apartment at his house to Alexis Littre (1658 – 1726), a French anatomist. Petit became an apprentice of Littre at seven years of age, helping him in the dissections for his lectures and at an early age became the assistant in charge of the anatomic amphitheater.

Because of Petit’s dedication to anatomy and medicine, in 1690 at the age of sixteen, became a disciple of a famous Paris surgeon, Castel.

In 1692, Petit entered the French army and performed surgery in two military campaigns. By 1693 he started delivering lectures and was accepted as a great surgeon, being invited to the most difficult operations.  In 1700 he was appointed Chief Surgeon of the Military School in Paris and in the same year he received the degree of Master of Surgery from the Faculty of Paris.

In 1715 he was made a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and an honorary member of the Royal Society of London. He was appointed by the King as the first Director General of the Royal Academy of Surgery when it was founded in 1731.

Petit’s written works are of historical importance.  “Traite des Maladies des Os” ( A Treatise on Bone Diseases);  “Traite des Maladies Chirurgicales et des Operation” (A Treatise on Surgical Diseases and their Operations” This last book was published posthumously in 1774. He also published a monograph on hemorrhage, another on lachrymal fistula, and others.

He was one of the first to perform choIecystotomy and mastoidotomy. His original tourniquet design for amputations saved many in the battlefield and the design of the same surgical instrument today has not changed much since its invention by him.

His name is remembered in the lumbar triangle, also called the "triangle of Petit", and the abdominal hernia that can ensue through that area of weakness, the lumbar hernia or "Petit's hernia".

1. “Jean Louis Petit – A Sketch of his Life, Character, and Writings” Hayne, AP San Fran Western Lancet 1875 4: 446-454
2. “Oeuvres compl?tes de Jean-Louis Petit” 1837 Imprimerie de F. Chapoulaud
3. Extraits de l'eloge de Jean-Louis Petit Ius dans Ia seance publique de I' Academie royale de chirurgie du 26 mai 1750” Louis A. Chirurgie 2001: 126 : 475- 81

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UPDATED: This is the first article ever published in this blog, The original date was October 31st 2012. Since then, over one thousand articles have been published. 

The term "bariatric" is a compound word with two Greek roots: [βάρος] (város), meaning "weight" or "pressure", and [γιατρός](giatrós) meaning "doctor, physician, or healer". The adjectival suffix [-ic] means "pertaining to". The term bariatric means "pertaining to weight-related medicine". 

Bariatric surgery is on the rise. In the USA, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has accumulated data on obesity since 1985, and has a dedicated area in their website on the topic. The most common bariatric surgery as of 2023-24 is the sleeve gastrectomy, where preservation of the stomach magenstrasse and the incisura angularis is extremely important.

The following animated image is based on the CDC information on obesity trends page and the increase in obesity between the years 1985 until 2010.  If you click on this image you will download a PowerPoint presentation with these maps

USA Obesity Trends 1985-2010After 2010 the CDC changed the way they collect and publish yearly trends on Adult Obesity Prevalence, adding information on education, age, race, and ethnicity. The following image is this compound map for 2022. Clicking on the image will take you to the Adult Obesity Prevalence Map page of the CDC.

Here is an Adult Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator presented by the CDC as a community service. The calculator can be used on this article or directly at the Adult BMI calculator page of the CDC. If needed, the CDC also has a BMI Calculator for Children and Teens.

Note: Google Translate includes a speaker icon. Clicking on it will allow you to hear the pronunciation of the word.

BMI Calculator For Adults


"Gastrointestinal Clinical Anatomy" and "Bariatric Surgery" are among the many educational topics offered by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. Click here to see additional educational materials and lecture topics specifically designed for medical industry professionals.