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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2024 update and modifications to this website and the MTD blog

We started the Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. website in early 1998. Then the website was written directly in html code and was not easy to maintain, but we did what we could for our friends and customers.

Over the years, as our company grew, we changed our hosting servers to GoDaddy, and our base software to Joomla!, an open-source Content Management System that we believe is the best available, even today. Since we made that decision, we have updated the Joomla! CMS at least twice and we are right now in the process of upgrading the software so this website can be easily read in phones, tablets, and computers. To do this we have an incredible support from Xristoforos Mavros and his company.

In early 2012, fourteen years after we started the website, we decided to start a blog on medical terminology and write on anatomical, medical or surgical terms, their origin, meaning and usage, as well as biographical notes on anatomists, surgeons, and researchers through the ages. Simply stated, we would write on topics that we liked. We decided to call this blog "Medical Terminology Daily", hoping that we would have the time to publish an article every day... oh, how wrong we were on our estimate! Now we are very happy if we have the time to publish weekly!, but we try.

The first article we wrote for this blog was on the term "Bariatric" was October 31st 2012. Since then, over one thousand articles have been published by myself and contributors from all over the world.

Starting 2024, we are revising and updating every single article to review for accuracy, make sure that all links are active (some are 12 years old) and update the images and photographs as needed. This will take time, and it will be a long process, but we think it is worth it.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as we have enjoyed writing it. Dr. Miranda