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

Antoine Louis

French surgeon, anatomist, and physiologist. Following his medical studies and a long career as a physiologist, Antoine Louis was named Permanent Secretary of the Royal French Academy of Surgery. His other titles were those of Professor of the Royal Academy, Consultant Surgeon of the Armies of the King, member of the Royal Society of Sciences of Montpellier, Inspector of the Royal Military Hospitals, and Doctor in Law of the University of Paris. As a member of these academies Louis was instrumental in the design and construction of the guillotine. Initially called the "Louisette", this device was later named after another French physician in the same committee, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin.

Antoine Louis' name is better know to history as the eponymic origin of the "sternal angle" also know as the "Angle of Louis" and synonymously (probably by misspelling or translation) the "angle of Lewis", and "angle of Ludwig". This anatomical landmark is extremely important as it serves as a superficial landmark for important anatomical occurrences (click here).

As a point of controversy, there are some that contest the history of this eponym adjudicating it to Pierre Charles Alexander Louis (1787-1872), another French physician dedicated to the study of tuberculosis.

1. Srickland, N; Strickland A Angle of Louis, More Than Meets the Eye. MedTalks:
2. Ramana, R. K., Sanagala, T. and Lichtenberg, R. (2006), A New Angle on the Angle of Louis. Congestive Heart Failure, 12: 197–199
. "The origin of Medical Terms" Skinner, HA; 1970

 "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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This is a Greek compound word. [ana-] meaning "through or complete", the root term  [-stom-] from [stoma], meaning "mouth or opening" and the suffix [-osis] meaning "condition". Usually [-osis] refers to a disease, but in this case it refers to an action or process. The plural form for [anastomosis] is [anastomoses].

The word [anastomosis] then refers to the "process or action of creating a complete opening". In reality an anastomosis is the process of creating a permanent opening between two structures which allows for drainage or flow from one structure into the other. The suffix [-ostomy], being the term for "drainage" is the best suffix to describe an anastomosis. An anastomosis can be the result of a surgical procedure or found as a natural occurrence, such as the anastomoses found in the arterial circle of Willis or an abnormal fistula.

The accompanying image shows an early 1900's depiction of an anterior gastrojejunostomy. The term [gastrojejunostomy] is then the "creation of a drainage opening (a common mouth or opening) between the stomach and the jejunum, the second portion of the small intestine.

Anterior gastrojejunostomy (Babcock)

It is our belief and core competency, that surgical medical device sales representatives and managers should be completely familiar with this medical term, as well as the many types of anastomoses that can be performed surgically. To this end, we have developed a video on the History of Surgical Stapling. At the end of a video you can see a demonstration of the use of these devices to create an anastomosis