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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
(1723–1792)

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.

Sources:
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
3
. "The origin of Medical Terms" Skinner, HA; 1970


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Giovanni Domenico Santorini


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.

Giovanni Domenico Santorini (1681 – 1737). Italian anatomist, Santorini was born in 1681 in Venice. The son of an apothecary, Santorini studied medicine at Bologna and Padua, receiving his doctorate in Pisa in 1701. He was appointed Public Professor of Anatomy at the Physicomedical College of Medicine when he was 22 years of age.

Santorini was praised for the clarity of his lectures and his dexterity as an anatomist.  He used magnifying glasses to study minute anatomical details, allowing him to clearly describe small structures hitherto unknown. Most of Santorini’s biographical data was written by Michael Girardi (1731 – 1797), one of his students. Girardi published Santorini’s work posthumously in 1775 in the book “Anatomici Summi-Septendecim Tabulae”.

Santorini’s himself wrote “Opuscula medica de structura” (Minute Medical Structures) in 1705. His most important book was “Observationes anatomicae”, published in Venice in 1724. One of the most interesting chapters in this book was “De mulierum partis procreationes datis” (Data on the female procreational structures ), making him a pioneer in the teaching of obstetrics. Santorini was physician to the Spedaletto (Hospital) of Venice, where he taught midwifery.

Giovanni Domenico Santorini
Original image courtesy of NLM
Santorini died in 1737 because of an infection he acquired during the dissection of a cadaver. At that time the rationale for infection and cadaver embalming were unknown.

With his posthumous publications, Santorini’s name and teachings became popular. Today his name is eponymically tied to several structures in the human body:

• Duct of Santorini: An accessory pancreatic duct that opens into a secondary duodenal papilla in the second portion of the duodenum
• Santorini’s valves: Mucosal folds found in the lumen of the primary duodenal papilla (of Vater) or hepatopancretic ampulla
• Santorini’s muscle: Risorius muscle • Santorini’s cartilages: The laryngeal corniculate cartilages
• Santorini’s veins: A plexus of vesicoprostatic veins found in the retropubic space) of Retzius
• Santorini’s concha: The superior nasal turbinate

Sources:
1. “The Dorsal Venous Complex: Dorsal Venous or Dorsal Vasculature Complex? Santorini’s Plexus revisited” Power NE, et al. BJU Inter (2011) 108: 930-932
2. “Giovanni Domenico Santorini: Santorini’s Duct” Edmonson, JM Gastrointest Endosc (2001) 53:6; 25A
3. "Santorini of the duct of Santorini" Haubrich, WS  Gastroenterol 120:4, 805
4. “Wirsung and Santorini: The Men Behind the Ducts” Flati, G; Andren-Sandberg, A. Pancreatology (2002)2:4-11
5. "A Historical Perspective: Infection from Cadaveric Dissection from the 18th to the 20th Centuries" Shoja, MM et al. Clin Anat (2013) 26:154-160