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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Name the 17 muscles that attach to the scapula

Anterior view of the left scapula.  Image in Public Domain, by Henry Vandyke Carter, MD - Gray's Anatomy
Anterior view of the left scapula.

The scapula is a flat, triangular bone that forms the posterior portion of the shoulder girdle. It is described with two surfaces, three borders, and three angles. The scapula attaches to the clavicle by way of the acromioclavicular joint and ligaments. . Seventeen muscles attach to the scapula and are listed here alphabetically:

1. Biceps brachii
2. Coracobrachialis 
3. Deltoid  
4. Infraspinatus 
5. Latissimus dorsi
6. Levator scapulae 
7. Omohyoid (inferior belly)
8. Pectoralis minor 
9. Rhomboid major 
10. Rhomboid minor 
11. Serratus anterior 
12. Subscapularis 
13. Supraspinatus 
14. Teres major 
15. Teres minor 
16. Trapezius
17. Triceps brachii (long head)

By surfaces, borders, and structures, these muscles group and attach as follows:

Posterior surface:
1. Supraspinatus
2. Infraspinatus
3. Teres major
4. Teres minor

Scapular spine and acromion:
5. Trapezius
6. Deltoid

Anterior surface:
7. Subscapularis
8. Serratus anterior

Medial border:
8. Serratus anterior
9. Rhomboid major
10. Rhomboid minor
11. Levator scapulae

Superior border:

12. Omohyoid (inferior belly)

Medial border:
13. Triceps brachii (long head)

External angle:
14. Biceps brachii (long head)

Coracoid process:
14. Biceps brachii (short head)
15. Coracobrachialis
16. Pectoralis minor

Inferior angle:

17. Latissimus dorsi

Note: Because the long and the short head of the biceps brachii attach to different locations of the scapula, some authors and Internet websites say that there are 18 muscles that attach to the scapula. I do not agree, as the biceps brachii is a single muscle that happens to have two separate attachments to the scapula. It would be different if this article was titled "Name the 18 separate muscular attachment points of the scapula". Dr. Miranda 

1. "Tratado de Anatomia Humana" Testut et Latarjet 8 Ed. 1931 Salvat Editores, Spain
2. "Gray's Anatomy" 38th British Ed. Churchill Livingstone 1995
Image in the Public Domain, by Henry Vandyke Carter - Gray's Anatomy