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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Oliver W. Holmes Sr.


This article is part of the series "A Moment in History" where we honor those who have contributed to the growth of medical knowledge in the areas of anatomy, medicine, surgery, and medical research.To search all the articles in this series, click here.

Oliver W. Holmes Sr. (1809-1894). American physician, writer, and poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. was born in 1809 in Cambridge, MA. He started his studies in law, but soon turned to Medicine, studying part of his time in Paris. In 1843 he joined the fight against "puerperal fever", for which he was mocked, but he stood his ground on principle. A gifted writer, he published several books on essays, biography, and poetry. He was Dean of the Harvard Medical School.  He received several honorary doctorates in Law and letters from Harvard and Cambridge. Little known is his contribution to Medicine by  the coining of the terms "anesthesia" and "anesthetic", and that he was the father of a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Oliver Wendell Homes Jr.

The Journal of Clinical Anatomy published an article on Oliver W. Holmes Sr. profiling his many accomplishments.

Original image courtesy of www.nndb.com.
Sources:
1. "The Origin of Medical Terms" Skinner, H.A.(1970)
2. "Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–1894): Physician, jurist, poet, inventor, pioneer, and anatomist" Tubbs, RS et al, Clin Anat 25:8; 992-997 (2012)
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Omentum

The origin or etymology of the word [omentum] is not clear. The plural form is [omenta] and it refers to membranes associated with the stomach. The term was first used by Galen and later by Celsus. It was Andrea Vesalius who gave us the first clear anatomical description of the omenta.

The omenta are double-layered peritoneal membranes. There are two omenta. The lesser omentum ("Lo" in the image) extends between the liver and stomach, and liver and the first part of the duodenum. The greater omentum ("Go" in the image) projects off the stomach, reaches as low as the lower abdominal cavity and reflects superiorly to connect with the transverse colon. The greater omentum contains a larger amount of fat than the lesser omentum.

Both omenta contain a number of arteries, veins, and other structures between their layers. In the case of the greater omentum, we find the right and left gastroepiploic arteries as well as the greater curvature vascular arcade.

Images property of: CAA.Inc.Photographer: D.M. Klein

Abdominal dissection
Go= Greateromentum, Lo=Lesseromentum, 
E=Esophagus, f=fundus, P= Pylorus.
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Theodor Billroth


This article is part of the series "A Moment in History" where we honor those who have contributed to the growth of medical knowledge in the areas of anatomy, medicine, surgery, and medical research.To search all the articles in this series, click here.

Christian Albert Theodor Billroth (1829-1894) was born in Prussia, in the city of Bergen. After being considered a slow learner requiring tutoring at home, Billroth studied Medicine in Berlin. In 1860 he was appointed as Professor of Clinical Surgery.

He is well-know by the partial or subtotal gastric resection surgeries he pioneered. In 1881 he performed the first of what is now known as a "Billroth I" procedure. He was the first to perform a partial resection and anastomosis of the esophagus, as well as the first surgeon to excise a rectal cancer. He is considered one of the Masters of Surgery.

Billroth was also a gifted musician playing the violin and viola. Good friend with Johannes Bramhs, he was sometimes invited to conduct the Zurich Symphonic Orchestra.

The first Billroth I procedure was performed in 1881 in a 43 year old female. Besides the well-known Billroth I and Billroth II subtotal gastrectomies, there are several eponyms that carry Billroth's name. Billroth's concepts on gastrointestinal anastomoses paved the way for the invention of surgical staplers.

Source: "Christian Albert Theodor Billroth: Master of surgery" Kazi, RA; Peter, RE, J Postgrad Med March 2004 50:1, 82-83
Original image courtesy of Images from the History of Medicine at nih.gov
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Femur

The Latin word [femur] means "thigh". the femur is the bone of the thigh, and this is why the anatomical region of the thigh is known as the "femoral region".

The femur is a long bone and has several anatomical characteristics such as a head (which articulates with the pelvic bone), a neck, a small and a large trochanter, and two condyles for articulation with the tibia at the knee joint.

For a detailed description of the anatomy of the femur, click here. Click on the image for a larger view.

 

 

Links courtesy of bartleby.com
Original image modified from Andrea Vesalius' "De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Libri Septem"

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Femur

Midline / Median plane / Midsagittal

The definition of a geometrical plane is "a surface defined by a minimum of three points". By definition, a plane is imaginary. The [median plane] is "a vertical plane that divides the human body standing in the anatomical position in two halves, left and right, that are equal in size" (although not in content).

The term "midline" is a bit of a misnomer, as this is a plane and not a line, although if you look at the median plane from the anterior or posterior aspect of an individual in the anatomical position, you would have a line, ergo, midline!

To visualize the above statement, click on this "anatomical position" link and hover your mouse over the image. The midline will appear.

Another term that can be used synonymously with [midline] or [median plane] is that of "midsagittal plane". Any plane that is parallel to the midsagittal plane (therefore not on the median plane) can be called either "sagittal" or "parasagittal".

Since planes are imaginary, the only way to make them real is to cut, section, or image following a plane, this is called a "plane of section"

 

Image property of: CAA.Inc. Artist: Victoria G. Ratcliffe

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Antonio Scarpa


This article is part of the series "A Moment in History" where we honor those who have contributed to the growth of medical knowledge in the areas of anatomy, medicine, surgery, and medical research.To search all the articles in this series, click here.
Antonio Scarpa (1752-1832). An Italian physician and anatomist, Antonio Scarpa is probably most remembered by the many human anatomy eponymic structures named after him, like "Scarpa's Fascia". Arising from humble origins, a very young Scarpa started medical studies at the University of Padua and obtained his doctorate at 18 years of age.

In 1772 he published a detailed anatomical study of the middle and internal ear, and later continued with animal comparative studies, surgical studies, and discoveries such as the innervation of the heart, and introduced the concept of arteriosclerosis. He left behind a solid group of books and publications

Known for his aggressive personality, Scarpa is said to have had more enemies than friends. After his death, his head was preserved and is still on display today at the History Museum of the University of Pavia, in Italy. Click here for a YouTube video depicting Scarpa's life and his head on display (Italian)

Antonio Scarpa was one of the first to describe the cochlea, one of the components of the inner ear

Original image courtesy of Images from the History of Medicine at nih.gov

Antonio Scarpa
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