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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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Jean-Francois Calot


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.

Jean-Francois Calot (1861 – 1944). French physician and anatomist, Jean-Francois Calot was born in Arrens-Marsous, a small farming community of the Hautes-Pyrénées. He received his bachelor degree in 1880 at Saint-Pe de Bigorre,  and then continued to study Medicine at the University of Paris, where he worked as an anatomy prosector. His doctoral thesis “De La Cholecystectomie” (On Cholecystectomy) was published in 1890 and republished in 1891.

Although his main interest laid in orthopedics and tuberculosis, Calot’s name is eponymically tied to an anatomical landmark described in his thesis, the “Triangle of Calot”, a triangular area that includes the biliary ducts associated with the gallbladder and the vascular supply to the gallbladder. This is an important region because of the high number of anatomical variations found in the area.

There is a discrepancy between the original description of this triangular region by Calot and what is used today. For more information, click on this link to read more on the “Triangle of Calot”, also known as the “cystohepatic triangle”.

During his medical career Calot worked at several French hospitals including the Rothschild hospital where he became Chief of Surgery. He was also the Chief of Surgery for the Cazin-Perrochaud Hospital, and the Orthopedic Institute of Berck-sur-Mer

During his orthopedic career Calot published many books “Chirurgie et orthopédie de guerre”, “Les maladies qu'on soigne á Berck”, “Berck et ses traitements : les raisons de sa supériorit?”, but his opus magnus is the book “« L'orthopédie indispensable aux praticiens” (Indispensable orthopedics for practitioners).

Calot is also known for his treatment of tuberculotic abscesses, and a conservative approach to musculoskeletal tuberculosis. The surgical approach of the times was to surgically open and clean the tuberculotic bone. Calot is known to have said “Ouvrir la tuberculose, c'est ouvrir la porte d' la mort” (To open the tuberculosis is to open the door to death).

Continuing his studies and treatment of tuberculosis, on December 22nd, 1896 Calot presents the the French Academy of Medicine a study of the treatment of 37 patients with hyperkyphosis due to Pott’s disease, a tuberculotic spinal deformity, named after Sir Percival Pott. This method included traction and a brace. The second image shows this treatment. Dr. Calot is standing at the center, looking at the patient.

In 1900 Calot founded the “Orthopedic Institute of Berck” which today is known as “Calot’s Institute of Berck-sur-Mer”.

Dr. Jean-Francois Calot 
Original image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine

Dr. Jean-Francois Calot and the treatment of Pott's disease
Original image public domain courtesy of the Universite Paris-Descartes Histoire de la Santé

Sources:
1. “Calot's triangle” Abdalla S, Pierre S, Ellis H. Clin Anat. 2013 May;26 (4):493-501
2. “La Vie et l'OEuvre de Francois Calot, chirurgien orthopédiste de Berck” Loisel, P. (in French). Report presented at Société Francaise d'Histoire de la Médecine on 18 March 1987