Medical Terminology Daily (MTD) is a blog sponsored by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. as a service to the medical community, medical students, and the medical industry. We will post a workweek daily medical or surgical term, its 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

Giovanni Batista Morgagni
Original image courtesy of National Institutes of Health

Giovanni Battista Morgagni

(1682 - 1771)

Italian anatomist, physician, and pathologist, Morgagni was born in the city of Forli. He started his medical studies at the University of Bologna, graduating in 1701 with a degree in Medicine and Philosophy. In 1712 he became a professor of anatomy at the University of Padua, Italy, 175 years after Andreas Vesalius. Morgagni was offered and accepted the Chair of Anatomy in 1715 at the University of Padua. Although Morgagni held a position at the anatomy department of the University of Padua, his name is associated mostly with his pathological studies.

Morgagni was interested in the works of Theophile Boneti (1620 - 1689), who started analyzing the correlation between post-mortem anatomical findings and diseases. He tried to establish a relation between the disease and the cause of death. In 1761 Morgagni published his most influential work "De Sedibus et Causis Morburum Per Anatomen Indagatis"  (On the Sites and Causes of Diseases, Investigated by Dissection). His work was essential for pathological anatomy to be recognized as a science in itself.

Morgagni was elected to become a member of several Academies of Science and Surgery: The Royal Society of London, The Academy of Science in Paris, The Berlin Academy of Science, and the Imperial Academy of Saint Petersburg in Russia. He is remembered today by several eponyms in anatomy and pathology:

• Morgagni's caruncle or lobe, referring to the miidle lobe of the prostate
• Morgagni's columns: the anal (or anorectal) colums
• Morgagni's concha, referring to the superior nasal concha
• Morgagni's foramina: two hiatuses in the respiratory diaphragm allowing for passage of the superior epigastric vessels
 Morgagni's hernia: an hiatal hernia through Morgagni's foramen, in the respiratory diaphragm
• Morgagni's ventricle: an internal pouch or dilation between the true and false vocal cords in the larynx
• Morgagni's nodules: the nodules at the point of coaptation of the leaflets (cusps) of the pulmonary valve. Erroneously called the "nodules of Arantius", which are only found in the aortic valve

1. "A Note From History:The First Printed Case Reports of Cancer" Hadju, S.I. Cancer 2010;116:2493–8
2. "Giovanni Battista Morgagni" Klotz, O. Can Med Assoc J 1932 27:3 298-303
3. "Morgagni (1682 -1771)" JAMA 1964 187:12 948-950

"Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc., and the contributors of "Medical Terminology Daily" wish to thank all individuals who donate their bodies and tissues for the advancement of education and research”.

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Rare & Collectible Books at AbeBooks.com 


Update to the "A Moment in History" Series

 As part of the design of this website we added a sidebar called "A Moment in History". The objective was to create a series of articles is to honor those individuals who have contributed to the growth of medical knowledge in the areas of anatomy, medicine, surgery, and medical research. Later in the development of the series we became aware of other individuals who have contributed in different ways, but still added their life work to the advancement of medical knowledge, as is the case of Marcia Croker Noyes (1869-1946).

Who would not be moved by the work of Allesandra Gilliani (1307-1326), who is probably the first woman dissector in the history of Human Anatomy, with a tragic short life and a love story.

We also decided to add to this series Moments in History that have left a mark on health care, such as "The First Use of Anesthesia in Surgery", or the story of how many individuals and unknown, anonymous children helped to rid the Americas from the scourge of smallpox, in "The Balmis Expedition", 

Another line of articles in this series are those that honor individuals who have used anatomical and surgical knowledge to further other areas of human knowledge, such as that of Juan Vucetich, who used the anatomical differences in fingerprints to create the science of dactiloscopy.

Václav TreitzDr. Vaclav Treitz
Original image
  courtesy of Wikipedia.org.
Yet another line of articles are those that are more personal and dear to the contributors of "Medical Terminology Daily", such as "The Ephraim McDowell House of Museum", or  "Interesting Discovery in and Ex-Libris".

Recently, I had to work in the Wangensteen Historical Library researching rare and antique medical books. The highlight of this work was to be able to read books by authors whose names are attached as eponyms to anatomical landmarks (Ligament of Treitz, Hesselbach's Triangle), pathologies (Koplik's spots), surgical procedures Billroth I and II), medical maneuvers (Heimlich maneuver), and surgical instruments (Finochietto retractor). Of course, the names given here are but a small sample of what has been written to date.

As of today this series is now searchable, all you have to do is type "A Moment in History" in our search page, click on the "A Moment in History" link at the top of the sidebar, or click here

The image in this article is that of Dr. Vaclav Treitz. His eponymically named Ligament of Treitz is the most read article in this blog.

Sternalis muscle

The Sternalis muscle has been nominated as a supernumerary anatomical variation; the highest prevalence is in China (23.5%) and the lowest in Chile (0.87%).

The muscle is a wide band of muscular tissue located in the anterior thoracic wall, where fibers travel near-parallel to the sternum, inferior to the clavicles, aterior to the pectoralis major and the pectoral fascia. It has received many names: rectus sternalis, parasternal, episternal, superficial abdominal rectus, among other names. To avoid confusion, a true sternalis muscle should have the following characteristics:

(1) be localized between the subcutaneous tissue of the anterior thoracic region and fascia pectoralis;
(2) originate superiorly from the sternum or infraclavicular region;
(3) be inserted inferiorly in the ribs, rib cartilage, external oblique muscle aponeurosis and sheath of the rectus abdominis muscle;
(4) its innervation must come from the anterior root of the intercostal nerves. Another possible innervation from medial and lateral pectoral nerves has been mentioned.

Even though the Sternalis muscle does not appear to have a significant function, it is important to bear it in mind when evaluating mammograms, because one could misdiagnose it as a mammary cancer, as exposed by many authors. It is crucial to be familiar with this muscle to avoid confusion with pathology, such as extra-abdominal desmoid tumors, diabetic mastopathy, abscesses, hematomas, fat necrosis, and others; its unilateral presence may cause breast or chest asymmetry.

Sternalis muscle (Andreas Vesalius 1543)
Sternalis muscle (Andreas Vesalius 1543)
Note: The image in this article depicts this variation and is from the 1543 " De Humanis Corporis Fabrica, Libri Septem " by Andreas Vesalius.

1. Jelev L., Georgiev G., Surchev L. (2001) The sternalis muscle in the Bulgarian population: classification of sternales. J. Anat. 199: 359-363. 
2. Bradley F.M., Hoover H.C., Hulka C.A., Whitman G.J., McCarthy K.A., Hall D.A., Moore R., Kopans D.B. (1996) The sternalis muscle: an unusual normal finding seen on mammography. AJR. Am. J. Roentgenol. 166: 33-36. 
3. Scott-Conner C.E.H., Al-Jurf A.S. (2002) The sternalis muscle. Clin. Anat. 15: 67-69. 
4. Shiotani M., Higuchi T., Yoshimura N., Kiguchi T., Takahashi N., Maeda H., Aoyama H. (2012) The sternalis muscle: radiologic findings on MDCT. Jpn. J. Radiol. 30: 729-734.


Vulvar hemangiomata

UPDATED: This article presents a case of vulvar hemangiomata. In superficial or surface anatomy, [vulva] is the anatomical name given to the external female genitalia.

The medical term [hemangioma] is formed by two root terms and a suffix. The root term [hem-] arises from the Greek word [αίμα] (a?ma) meaning "blood", the second root term [-angi-] .from the Greek term [αγγείο] (angeio), meaning "vessel” and the suffix [-oma] (ωμα), also Greek, meaning "mass", "growth”, or "tumor". The plural derivative word [hemangiomata] uses the suffix [-omata] which is the plural form of [-oma].

Vulvar hemangiomata are multiple blood growths or tumors on a female’s external genitalia. In most cases, hemangiomata are idiopathic.

Vulvar hemangiomata
Image property of: CAA.Inc. 
WARNING: Depicts female external genitalia.
Vulvar hemangiomata can be capillary (arterial) or cavernous (venous). They are benign vascular tumors which can be congenital, meaning the patient is born with them, or acquired, meaning that they appear later in life. In both cases they are usually asymptomatic. Patients may become concerned over aesthetics or because of bleeding due to trauma to the lesions. In rare cases, these hemangiomas can be large, requiring excision.

They are usually kept under observation, evaluating their progress (evolution or involution). If they increase in number or become symptomatic, intervention includes the use of sclerosing agents, destruction by cryotherapy or laser therapy, or surgical excision.

Personal note: My thanks to the patient who voluntarily and anonymously provided this image to further learning and knowledge on this pathology. Dr. Miranda

2017 AACA Meeting (5)

2017 AACA Meeting – Thursday, July 20

This is the 2017 Meeting of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA) in Minneapolis, MN. This 34th meeting of the association, gets together over 300 clinical anatomists, anatomists, physicians, and students from all over the world.

Last day of the meeting! In the morning, there was a poster session and a platform session dedicated to the neck and lower limb.  Now, I must confess that as much as I wanted to attend the meeting, I decided to go somewhere else and skip the morning session… I should feel bad about this, but I do not!!

With two other attendees to the AACA meeting I went to the Wangensteen Historical Library which has a collection of over 80,000 rare books.  We met with the Curator, Lois Hendrickson, Christopher Herzberg, and Emily Beck.

First, we visited the current exhibit, “Medical Exchanges: Mapping the Human Body in Japan and China” with incredible books, medical posters, and artifacts referencing anatomy, surgery, acupuncture, botanical remedies, etc. Then we went into the reading room where they already had a display of books on anatomy, surgery, histology, etc.

We spent at least four hours reading and admiring these books and the knowledge they contain. One of our discussions was on the fact that today there is a great deal of information “lost” in these books because they have not been digitized, or because many are written in languages which the average researched does not master.

For those who read this blog, you know that I am collector of antique medical books and the opportunity to be at this incredible library was unique. There were so many books that is difficult to list. Authors like Bidloo, Hooke, Verhayen, Mascagni, Vesalius, etc. Books like “De Muto Cordis”, “Micrographia”, “De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Libri Septem”, and “De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Epitome” are some of the jewels that we were able to admire.

Personally, the opportunity to spend time with these books was invaluable. There are only 13 known “De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Epitome” books in the world. It is priceless and who knows what its monetary value would be if any makes it to the antiquarian market. Being able to read, admire and touch this book was the “epitome” of my time at the library (pun intended).

Unfortunately, for some unknown reason I lost all the pictures I took of this occasion, so I hope to get some from the colleagues that went to the library with me.

Back at the AACA Meeting, we had a Medical Terminology Committee meeting, followed by the AACA Business Meeting, and then the closing banquet with the presentation of Awards. The last order of business was the presidential transition. Neil Norton, PhD ended his presidential tenure with the closing of the 2017 AACA Meeting and Marios Loukas, MD, PhD begins his two-year as President of the AACA.

Next year the AACA meeting will be in Atlanta! See you there!

2017 AACA Meeting (4)

2017 AACA Meeting – Wednesday, July 19.

This is the 2017 Meeting of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists in Minneapolis, MN. This 34th meeting of the association, gets together over 300 clinical anatomists, anatomists, physicians, and students from all over the world.

Second day of the meeting, by now I have met most all my old friends from the AACA, and I have started making some new ones… I really like this meeting.

The meeting started with the poster session where I am a judge. I made it a point to look at all the posters yesterday and the quality of the presentations is impressive. I am humbled to have to judge so much talent and feel that many deserve the award for the best poster presentation.

The platform sessions for the day were dedicated to the Upper Limb and Education.

There was a special session dedicated to the topic “The Legal and Ethic Consideration of Being the Guardian of the Gift”. This session dealt with the legal and ethical implications of curating and keeping old collections of fetal tissue, osteology, teratology, and anatomical specimens.

I also attended the Clinical Anatomy Terminology Committee meeting… it was fun. We formed groups and tried to make anatomical definitions according to new standards being developed by the AACA.

The day ended with a social event (food and drinks) where we were treated to samples of books from the Wangensteen library (NO TOUCHING) and medical devices from the Bakken museum. What a day!!!

More nice stuff tomorrow!!!

2017 AACA Meeting (3)

2017 AACA Meeting – Tuesday, July 18.

This is the 2017 Meeting of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists in Minneapolis, MN. This 34th meeting of the association, gets together over 300 clinical anatomists, anatomists, physicians, and students from all over the world.

The meeting started with the official welcome by the president of the AACA, Neil S. Norton, Ph. D., and the welcome by our local Minnesota host Tucker W. LeBien, Ph.D.

Unfortunately, our Honored Member James D. Collins, M.D., is sick and could not attend. We all wish him well.

The rest of the day was spent in poster sessions, the Tech Fair, and a reception where new AACA members can meet our mentors and possibly connect throughout their careers. The AACA aims to help its members through these activities.

We also had time to visit the exhibit hall where our sponsors can present their products. We sincerely thank them for their contribution.

One of the presentations that caught my attention was the use of augmented reality in anatomy, where you can see an anatomical structure floating in the air superimposed on the environment. 3D anatomical resources were also presented by the exhibitors.

One of the highlights of my day was to meet again with Victor M. Spitzer, Ph.D., (Honored Member AACA 2014) and talk about meeting in Colorado at his lab, and the incredible revolution in anatomy that he started with The Visual Human Project. I invited him to become a contributor to our blog…. Hope he accepts!

The day ended with some of the attendees to the meeting going to see a New York Yankees vs, the Minnesota Twins baseball game…. I stayed. Unfortunately for our hosts the NYY won 6-3.

More nice stuff tomorrow!!!