Our Sponsors caatmsmtdad    Medical Terminology Daily (MTD) is a blog prepared 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 Domenico Santorini

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.

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

Original image courtesy of National Library of Medicine.


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Henry Gray F.R.S


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.

Henry Gray F.R.S. (1827 – 1861). English anatomist, Henry Gray was born in 1827. Not much is known of his early studies. What is known is that on May 6, 1845 Gray was studying as a pupil at St. George’s Hospital in London. At 21 years of age Gray won an award for an anatomical paper on human and comparative anatomy of the eye and its appendages.

In 1850 Henry Gray was appointed as house surgeon to the St. George’s Hospital, and in 1852 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society. He wrote several anatomical papers and in 1852 became a lecturer on Anatomy at the same hospital.

At this time he started work on what would become his legacy to the world. A systematic analysis and treatise on human anatomy that was originally published in 1858, entitled “Anatomy, Descriptive, and Surgical” which was profusely illustrated by Henry Vandyke Carter, M.D.

Unfortunately for the world, Henry Gray was affected by smallpox and died on June 13, 1861 shortly after he was elected as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Henry Gray died when he was only 34 years old.

Henry Gray, FRS
Original imagecourtesy of NLM  

Much of the original work of Henry Gray is today in the public domain. Still, the book that he published is still in print, much modified, but with the same educational purpose. The 40th British Edition of “Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice” was published in November 2008. The American Edition of the same book was published in 1908, long after his death. The 30thAmerican Edition of Gray’s Anatomy was last published in the USA in 1984.

Sources:
1. “Henry Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter: Creators of a Famous Textbook" Roberts, S. J Med Biog 2000 8: 206-212
2. "Henry Gray, Anatomist: An Appreciation" Boland, F Am J Med Sci 1908 1827-1924
3. "The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy" Hayes, B. Random House PG 2007