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 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 

Martin Naboth, title page of De Sterelitate Mulierum 

Martin Naboth
(1675 – 1721)

Not much is known about this German physician and anatomist. He was born in 1675 in Calau, a town in Southern Brandenburg, Germany. He studied medicine at the University in Leipzig, receiving his doctorate in Philosophy in 1701 and his MD in 1703. Although his interests were based in chemistry, Naboth became an avid anatomist, with interest in the anatomy of the female reproductive system.

His main publication in 1707 was “De Sterilitate Mulierum” (On Sterility in Women). In this book he refers to small pearl-like transparent structures found in the uterine cervix. Believing that he had discovered the way women store eggs, he called these “ovarium novum” (new ovaries). His discovery was accepted by many and these structures came to be known as “Ovula Nabothii “. Only later were to understand these structures as cysts created by clogging of the opening of the glands found around the uterine cervix. These mucus-producing glands are known as the [cervical glands] and also as Nabothian glands. These cysts, which are common and do not represent a sign of cervical cancer, are known today as Nabothian cysts.

Naboth had only rediscovered these cysts first described in 1681 by Guillaume des Noues (1650 – 1735), although the eponym records Naboth’s name.

Naboth died in Leipzig in 1721 leaving a large anatomical collection. We have not been able to find an image of Naboth, so we are depicting the title page of his 1707 “De Sterilitate Mulierum”. If you click on the image you can see a larger depiction.

1. “Histoire de la M?decine, depuis son origine jusqu'au dix-neuvi?me si?cle” A. J. L. Jourdan ; E. F. M. Bosquillon  1815
2. “The Origin of Medical Terms” Skinner HA 1970 Hafner Publishing Co.

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Hesselbach's triangle

Hesselbach’s triangle is a triangular region in the lower posterior aspect of the anterior abdominal wall (see yellow inset in the image). It is bound medially by the lateral border of the rectus abdominis muscle, superolaterally by the inferior (deep) epigastric vessels (label “C”) and by the inguinal ligament inferolaterally.

Hesselbach’s triangle is described as the area where a direct inguinal hernia will extrude from posterior to anterior, to protrude directly (hence the name) through the external (superficial) inguinal ring.

Franz Kaspar Hesselbach (1759-1816) was a German surgeon and anatomist who described inguinofemoral hernias in detail, publishing several books on the subject. His name is attached to several regions and structures:

• Hesselbach’s triangle, described in this article

• Hesselbach’s fascia. Known as the cribriform fascia, this perforated fascia covers the saphenous opening in the superior femoral region.

Posterior view of the abdominal wall. Hesselbach's triangle
• Hesselbach’s ligament. Also known as the interfoveolar ligament, this is a thickening of the transversalis fascia in relation to the inferior (deep) epigastric vessels. 

If you click on the picture, an original image by Hesselbach will appear. This image shows a defect in Hesselbach’s triangle, setting the stage for a direct inguinal hernia, as well as the interfoveolar ligament. Incidentally, Hesselbach's triangle as described today is not the area described originally by Dr. Hesselbach, where the lower border of the triangle was Cooper's ligament.

Initial image property of: CAA.Inc.Artist: M. ZuptichSecondary image by F.K. Hesselbach.

Clinical anatomy of the inguinofemoral hernias, as well as abdominal and perineal hernias are some of the lecture topics developed and delivered to the medical devices industry by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc.