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".

Sources:
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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Pascale Pollier

Pascale Pollier is a sculptor/artist who is interested in the melding of art and science. A Belgian National, she studied fine art and Painting in St Lucas art school in Ghent, Belgium and subsequently postgraduate training with the Medical Artists Association, London UK.

She was president and co-founder of BIOMAB (Biological and Medical Art in Belgium) . In 2010 the international collaboration program "Art Researches Science" was created, organizing exhibitions, dissection drawing classes, collaborative art/science projects, symposiums and conferences. The International collaboration partners are: Universities of Antwerp, London, Dundee, Strasbourg and New York.

Pascale Pollier

Pascale is also an external examiner for the medical art course at The Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification, University of Dundee. She is President of the AEIMS (Association Europeenes des lllustrateurs  Medicaux et Scientifiques). She works and lives in London as an artist. You can visit her website "artem medicalis" here.

Her art can be best expressed in the words of Jac Scott in his book "Language of Mixed-Media Sculpture": "Pascalle Pollier creates poetic 3D renditions of anatomically referenced 'body maps' that celebrate human life and death. The immediacy of the subject matter and her ability to capture realism provoke reactions from quietly unsettling to outrage. Her work is not for the faint-hearted - its honesty in its clear intent confronts all who gaze at the wonder of the human form in its various states of undress - shedding clothes or skin.... Pollier approaches form a medical science perspective". For images of her work, visit MEDinART.

Her nationality and studies guided her to Andreas Vesalius and with Theo Dirix and other collaborators Pascale was instrumental in the realization of the 2014 Vesalius Continuum meeting on the island of Zakynthos, Greece.

Thanks to her vision and collaborative work, now there is a new bronze sculpture on the island celebrating the famous Flemish (Belgian) anatomist. She is also deeply involved in the quest to find Vesalius' grave on the island. To this effect, and based on the few images we have of Andreas Vesalius, Pascale created a reverse-engineered bust of Vesalius which depicts what his skull might look like. Several bronze copies of this piece of art are today in exhibits in libraries and museums around the world. To fund the on-going research to find Vesalius' grave, Pascale is offering five wax copies of the bust for sale.

Thanks to Pascale Pollier for collaborating with "Medical Terminology Daily" with the article "In Search of Andreas Vesalius, The Quest for the Lost Grave - The Sequel" which she co-authored with Theo Dirix and Dr. Sylviane Déderix.

Wax bust of Andreas Vesalius by Pascale Pollier
Wax bust of Andreas Vesalius by Pascale Pollier.
Click on the image for a larger depiction

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