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

Self-portrait, Henry Vandyke Carter, MD (Public Domain)
Self-portrait, Henry Vandyke Carter, MD (Public Domain)

Henry Vandyke Carter, MD
(1831 – 1897)

English physician, surgeon, medical artist, and a pioneer in leprosy and mycetoma studies.  HV Carter was born in Yorkshire in 1831. He was the son of Henry Barlow Carter, a well-known artist and it is possible that he honed his natural talents with his father. His mother picked his middle name after a famous painter, Anthony Van Dyck. This is probably why his name is sometimes shown as Henry Van Dyke Carter, although the most common presentation of his middle name is Vandyke.

Having problems to finance his medical studies, HV Carter trained as an apothecary and later as an anatomical demonstrator at St. George’s Hospital in London, where he met Henry Gray (1872-1861), who was at the time the anatomical lecturer. Having seen the quality of HV Carter’s drawings, Henry Gray teamed with him to produce one of the most popular and longer-lived anatomy books in history: “Gray’s Anatomy”, which was first published in late 1857.  The book itself, about which many papers have been written, was immediately accepted and praised because of the clarity of the text as well as the incredible drawings of Henry Vandyke Carter.

While working on the book’s drawings, HV Carter continued his studies and received his MD in 1856.

In spite of initially being offered a co-authorship of the book, Dr. Carter was relegated to the position of illustrator by Henry Gray and never saw the royalties that the book could have generated for him. For all his work and dedication, Dr. Carter only received a one-time payment of 150 pounds. Dr.  Carter never worked again with Gray, who died of smallpox only a few years later.

Frustrated, Dr. Carter took the exams for the India Medical Service.  In 1858 he joined as an Assistant Surgeon and later became a professor of anatomy and physiology. Even later he served as a Civil Surgeon. During his tenure with the India Medical Service he attained the ranks of Surgeon, Surgeon-Major, Surgeon-Lieutenant-Colonel, and Brigade-Surgeon.

Dr. Carter dedicated the rest of his life to the study of leprosy, and other ailments typical of India at that time. He held several important offices, including that of Dean of the Medical School of the University of Bombay. In 1890, after his retirement, he was appointed Honorary Physician to the Queen.

Dr. Henry Vandyke Carter died of tuberculosis in 1897.

Personal note: Had history been different, this famous book would have been called “Gray and Carter’s Anatomy” and Dr. Carter never gone to India. His legacy is still seen in the images of the thousands of copies of “Gray’s Anatomy” throughout the world and the many reproductions of his work available on the Internet. We are proud to use some of his images in this blog. The image accompanying this article is a self-portrait of Dr. Carter. Click on the image for a larger depiction. Dr. Miranda

1. “Obituary: Henry Vandyke Carter” Br Med J (1897);1:1256-7
2. “The Anatomist: A True Story of ‘Gray’s Anatomy” Hayes W. (2007) USA: Ballantine
3. “A Glimpse of Our Past: Henry Gray’s Anatomy” Pearce, JMS. J Clin Anat (2009) 22:291–295
4. “Henry Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter: Creators of a famous textbook” Roberts S. J Med Biogr (2000) 8:206–212.
5. “Henry Vandyke Carter and his meritorious works in India” Tappa, DM et al. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol (2011) 77:101-3

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Carl Wernicke

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.

Carl Wernicke (1848-1905). German psychiatrist, neurologist, and neurosurgeon, Carl Wernicke was born in 1848 in the town of Tarnowitz, in what was then Prussia. He studied medicine in Breslau, Poland. In 1817 he became an assistant psychiatrist at a Breslau hospital. Fascinated with the discoveries and publications of Paul Broca on localized brain damage and aphasia, Wernicke left his post for a time to work with Theodor Meynert in Vienna. At that time Meynert was considered an authority in neuropsychiatry. In 1874, soon after his return to Breslau, Wernicke published his ideas and findings in aphasia in a revolutionary  publication "The Aphasia Symptom Complex". Wernicke was only 26.

At the time, the general outlook on brain activity was that the brain worked in localized areas. Carl Wernicke's ideas were that although this was true, the functionality of the brain resided in the connections between the different areas of the brain. His ideas were right. Wernicke described what later would be known as "sensory aphasia" or the eponymic "Wernicke's aphasia".

Wernicke was a pioneer in the surgical treatment of hydrocephalus, as well as the surgical treatment of brain abcesses. He published several books, including a brain atlas. Carl Wernicke died as the consequence of a bycicle accident in 1905.

1. "Pioneers in Neurology: Carl Wernicke (1848–1905)" Pillmann, F. J Neurol (2003) 250 : 1390–1391
2. "The scientific history of hydrocephalus and its treatment" Aschoff, A.; Ashemi, P.; Kunze, S.Neurosurg Rev (1999) 22:67–93
3. "Aphasia" Marshall,RS; Lazar, RM;PhD, Mohr,JP. Medical Update for Psychiatrists. Elsevier (1998)3;5:132–138

Original image courtesy of
Images from the History of Medicine.

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The lunate bone is one of the proximal carpal bones that form the wrist. The name arises from the Latin [luna], meaning "moon". The lunate bone has a deep concavity and crescent-like shape, resembling a crescent moon. This bone is also known as the "semilunar bone" or the os lunatum.

The lunate bone has six surfaces (as a die). It articulates with the scaphoid bone by way of a strong ligament, the scapholunate interosseous ligament. This ligament has several components. Besides the scaphoid bone, the lunate bone articulates with the radius, capitate, hamate, and the triquetrum.

The accompanying image shows the anterior (volar) surface of the wrist. Click on the image for a larger picture.

Image modified from the original: "3D Human Anatomy: Regional Edition DVD-ROM." Courtesy of Primal Pictures

Scaphoid bone - anterior (volar) view of the wrist

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The term [endarterectomy] is composed by the prefix [end-] (sometimes used as [endo]), meaning "inner" or "internal"; the root term [-arter-], meaning "artery", and the suffix [-ectomy] meaning "removal" or "excision".

An endarterectomy is performed to remove atheromatous plaque that is causing arterial stenosis. Although every artery is a candidate for this procedure, carotid endarterectomy is one of the most frequently peripheral vascular procedures performed.

The plaque causing arterial stricture can be the origin of thrombi (in situ blood clots), or emboli (loose blood clots that travel with the flood of blood). These emboli can be the cause of cerebral transient ischemic attacks (TIA's).

In an endarterectomy the objective is to remove the inner layer of the vessel containing the atheroma. This layer is the tunica intima of the vessel. The problem when performing the procedure is to maintain perfusion of the brain which receives much of its blood supply trough the internal carotid artery. The brain also receives blood through the vertebral arteries and the contralateral internal carotid artery. All these vessels are interconnected at the base of the brain by the arterial circle of Willis, named after Thomas Willis (1621 - 1675)

For a YouTube video of the procedure: CLICK HERE (9 minutes)
For an image of the carotid plaque in situ: CLICK HERE 


Images property of: CAA.Inc. Artist: Dr. E. Miranda

Right carotid artery system - anterior view
Right carotid artery system - anterior view
Click on the image for a larger version
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A [hordeolum] is an inflamed Meibomian gland (also known as a tarsal gland). These glands are found at the edge of the eyelids and their lipid product (meibum) helps seal the eyes and prevent tear evaporation. The vernacular term for an hordeolum is "stye" or "sty".

The term arises from the Latin [hordeum] meaning "barley". It refers to the appearance of the inflamed gland to a barleycorn. The eponymic term "Meibomiam gland" honors Heinrich Meibom (1638-1700), a German anatomist who first described the tarsal glands of the eye.

The removal of a hordeolum is called a "hordeolectomy"

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

HordeolumFive-day old hordeolum

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From the Greek [spondylos] meaning "vertebra", its combining form is [spondylo-]. Use of this term include:

SpondylitisInflammation of a vertebra.
- Spondylosis: The suffix [-osis] means "condition", but with the connotation of "many". The term means "many vertebrae", but it refers to excessive abnormal growth of portions of the vertebral body, usually forming "bone spurs", also referred to as "spondylophytes"
- Spondylolysis: From the Greek [lysis], meaning "loosening", the term is used to mean "destruction" or "breaking of". Spondylolysis refers to the breakage, destruction, or loosening of part of a vertebra.
- Spondylolisthesis: From the Greek term [olisthos] meaning "slippery".  A "slippery vertebra", referring to the forward displacement of a vertebra over another one.

Image property of: CAA.Inc. Photographer: David M. Klein

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Peter Paul Broca

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.
Peter Paul Broca (1824- 1880). Surgeon and anthropologist, Peter Paul Broca was born in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande in France. His earlier studies were in mathematics, but graduated in medicine, becoming a professor of clinical surgery. He became interested in anthropology and applied his mathematical expertise to the measurement and interpretation of his findings in comparative anatomy.

Broca was the founder of the first Anthropological Society of Paris, and used this venue to deliver most of his work. A prolific writer, Broca published over 500 scientific papers and several books. At one of the meetings of the society the discussion was directed to brain areas and speech. Broca had a patient with a condition that he referred to as aphemia (later known as aphasia); this patient died a few days later and upon autopsy, Broca was able to see a distinct cavity in the left lateral frontal lobe. Upon finding the same situation in another patient, he was able to describe the area of the brain responsible for speech, known today as "Broca's area" in the third left frontal brain convolution. Broca is responsible for naming many of the craniometric points in the human skull such as bregma, dacryon, inion, lambda, metopion, etc.

Broca was part of the discovery and study of the Neanderthal man. He remained the secretary of the Anthropological Society of Paris until his death in 1880. 

Peter Paul BrocaOriginal imagecourtesy of
National Institutes of Health.
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