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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Inguinal ligament

The inguinal (Poupart's) ligament has always been described as a separate, discrete,  distinctive ligamentous structure. This is not so. The inguinal ligament is the thickened, incurved, lower free border of the external oblique aponeurosis. This structure extends between the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) superolaterally, and the pubic tubercle inferomedially. The inferomedial portion of the inguinal ligament send fibers towars the pectineal ligament (Cooper's ligament) and forms the lacunar (Gimbernat's) ligament.

Inferior to the inguinal ligament is an open region (subinguinal space) that allows passage of structures between the abdominopelvic region and the femoral region. Some of these structures are: Iliacus muscle, psoas major muscle, femoral nerve, lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, femoral artery, femoral vein, etc.

Inguinal ligament
Although described by Vesalius, Fallopius, and others it was the French anatomist and surgeon Francois Poupart (1661-1708) who described this structure in relation to hernia in his book "Chirurgie Complete" published in 1695.

Image property of: CAA.Inc.. Artist: D.M. Klein

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-itis

The suffix [-itis] originates from the Greek and means "inflammation". This suffix is also used to mean "infection", although inflammation is only one of the signs of infection. The symptoms and signs of infection are:

• Edema - localized swelling (tumor)
• Redness- Localized (rubor)
• Localized raise in temperature - Fever (calor)
• Pain - (dolor)
• Localized functional impairment

Examples of uses of this suffix are:

Hepatitis: Inflammation or infection of the liver
Pancreatitis: Inflammation or infection of the pancreas
Cholecystitis: Inflammation or infection of the gallbladder [chole-]="gall'; [cyst]="sac" or "bladder"
Rhinitis: Inflammation or infection of the nose
Pharyngotracheitis: Inflammation or infection of the pharynx and trachea

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-oid

The suffix [-oid] originates from the Greek [oeides], meaning "similar to", "like", or "shaped like". This suffix can be found the the medical terms [sigmoid] meaning "similar or shaped like a sigma"; [sphenoid], meaning "shaped like a wedge"; [cricoid], meaning "shaped like a ring", and [arytenoid] also from the Greek [arytaina], meaning "similar to a ladle".

This suffix is also used in daily conversation, as the following examples illustrate:

Android - "similar to a human", from the Greek [andros] human
Anthropoid - similar to a man, from the Greek [anthropos], "man"
Asteroid - "similar to a star", from the Greek [aster], "star"
Arachnoid - "similar to a spider", from the latin [arachnid], spider. It refers to the spider-web look of this menynx

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Coronary

The term [coronary] comes from the Latin root [corona] meaning "crown", therefore [coronary] is used to denote a structure that surrounds another as a crown or a garland. In the heart, the coronary arteries and their branches form a crown that surrounds the heart at the level of the atrioventricular sulcus. There are two coronary arteries, the right coronary artery (RCA), and the left coronary arteryartery (*). The two main branches that arise from the left coronary artery are the circumflex artery (CFX) and the left anterior descending artery (LAD).

There can be interesting anatomical variations in the coronary arteries of the heart.

Although not in use anymore, the gastric arteries used to be called the "gastric coronaries" as the right and left gastric arteries and the right and left gastroepiploic arteries form a garland of arteries that surround the stomach. The term still does apply to the left gastric veins.

Coronary arteries
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Vertebra

From the Latin [vertere] meaning "to turn", the term refers to one of the bones that forms the spinal column or raquis. This word was first used by Celsus  both to denote the intervertebral joint and the bone itself. The plural form of the term [vertebra] is [vertebrae].

All vertebrae are different, although they have some similarities which allows us to group them by region: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal. The image shows us a cervical vertebra, characterized by a slender, small vertebral body and two lateral openings, the transverse foramina. If you hover your cursor over the image, a thoracic vertebra will appear. Thoracic vertebrae are characterized by a heart-shaped body, the presence of articular surfaces for the ribs, etc. With few exceptions, all vertebrae have a basivertebral foramen.

Photography by D.M.Klein

 

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