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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-lithiasis

The suffix [-(o)lithiasis] is a compound suffix with the Greek root [-lith-] meaning "stone" and the suffix [-iasis] meaning "condition, pathology, or disease". [-(o)lithiasis] then means the "condition or presence of stones".

This suffix can be found in many medical terms such as:

Choledocolithiasis: a condition of stones in the bile duct
Nephrolithiasis: Kidney stones
Cholelithiasis: Gall or bile stones. This term does not indicate specific stone location
Cholecystolithiasis: Stones in the gallbladder
Cystolithiasis: Bladder stones
Choledocholithiasis: Stones in the common bile duct

Can you find the meaning of the word dacryocystolithiasis?

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Sternum

The sternum is a median bone that, with the anterior portion of the ribs, forms the anterior boundary of the bony thorax.

The term [sternum] comes from the Greek, meaning "flat chest or flat surface". In early anatomy, the sternum was known by a Latin term [gladius] referring to the similarity of the sternum to the short sword of the gladiators.

The sternum is composed by three segments, from superior to inferior they are the:

1. Manubrium: This is Latin for "handle" (of the sword)
2. Body: This segment is formed by four separate bones that fuse together later in life. Each separate bony component of the sternal body is known as a "sternabra" (plural: sternabrae)
3. Xiphoid appendix: The term [xiphoid] is Greek and means "similar to a straight sword", but it refers only to the lowest portion of the sternum. Sometimes called the [xiphisternum], the xiphoid appendage or process is cartilaginous and is the last cartilage to ossify in the human.

Sternum
The boundary between the manubrium and sternal body is known as the "sternal angle" or the "angle of Louis"named after Antoine Louis, a French physician. Click on the image of the thorax to see a detailed image of the sternum.

Images property of: CAA.Inc.Artist: David M. Klein

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Henri Fruchaud


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.

Dr. Henri Rene Fruchaud (1894-1960) was born in 1894 in Angers, the capital of the French province of Anjou. He started his medical studies in Anjou and continued them later in Paris. He was active in both WWI and WWII, earning several medals for bravery. He published a large number of articles in diverse surgical fields. 

An anatomist and a surgeon, Fruchaud is best known for his work in the field of Hernia Surgery by two of his books published in 1956: "L'Anatomie chirurgicale de la r?gion de l'aine" (Surgical anatomy of the groin region), and "Le traitement chirurgical des hernies de l'aine" (Surgical Treatment of Groin Hernias). He described the presence of a weak area in the pelvic region that he calls the "Myopectineal Orifice" or MPO. He states in his book: "It may be said that a healthy man is, unknown to himself, a hernia bearer". The MPO concept has become of importance after the advent of the laparoscopic repair of inguinofemoral hernias.

He is one of the members of the French Order of the Liberation, where you can read his biography in French.

Fruchaud
Original image of Dr. Henri Fruchaud courtesy of the French Order of the Liberation Museum.
Source: "Henri Fruchaud (1894–1960): A man of bravery, an anatomist a surgeon" Stoppa,R and Wantz,G.  Hernia 1998,Vol 2,(1) 45 - 47
 
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Interstices / interstitial

The word [interstice] is a derivation of the Latin term [interstitium] meaning "interval" or "spaces between". The plural form is [interstices]. The terms is used in anatomy to denote small spaces within a structure. As an example, bone marrow and venous sinuses are found in the [interstices] of the cancellous bone in the body of a vertebra.

The term is also used to describe different pathologies such as insterstitial cystitis and instertitial lung disease.

Word suggested by: Sara Mueller

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Parietal

The word [parietal] has its origin in the Greek term [paries] meaning "wall". [Parietal] then means "pertaining to a wall", wall-related", or simply stated, "wall". Following are some examples of the use of this term.

The parietal bones of the cranium (os parietale), create the lateral "wall" of the cranium. These quadrangular bones join in the midline forming the sagittal suture. (see image). Click here for a detailed description of the parietal bone.

The term [parietal] is also used to denote membranes that are related to the body wall. The parietal peritoneum is the portion of the peritoneal membrane that is found away from the viscera and in relation to the abdominal wall.  The pleura is a membrane that lines the lungs, and it has a component that is related to the wall of the thorax. This is the [parietal] pleura.

There is a couple of cases where the use of term [parietal] is not related to a wall, but rather as "away from a viscus". An example of this would be the parietal pericardium, where the parietal component is the membrane that is away from the visceralpericardium.

An interesting use of the term is legal, where a [parietal] law, is used to denote a law that establishes boundaries or "walls" between legal parties.

Original image and links courtesy of bartleby.com

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Diagnosis / Prognosis

These two terms are related by the Greek root term [-gnos-] which means "knowledge".

The first word [diagnosis] has the prefix [dia-] meaning "apart" or "to take apart". [Diagnosis] then means "to discern", or in a more detailed explanation, it is "knowledge by taking apart", identifying a pathology by looking at all its components.

The second word [prognosis] has the prefix [pro-] meaning "forward". Prognosis is then "forward knowledge", an statement of outcome of the course of a pathology.

Words suggested by: Sara Mueller

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