Alexis Littré

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Alexis Littré (July 17, 1654[1] – February 3, 1726) was a French physician and anatomist born in Cordes (currently Cordes-Tolosannes in the department of Tarn-et-Garonne).


Littré studied medicine in Montpellier and Paris, receiving his doctorate in 1691. In 1699 he became a member of the Académie des Sciences.

In Paris, he taught anatomy and was the author of numerous medical publications. He was the first to give a description of a hernial protrusion of an intestinal diverticulum. This condition is now referred to as "Littré's hernia".[2]

He also described the mucous urethral glands of the male urethra. These structures were to become known as "Littré's glands",[3] and their inflammation is sometimes called "littréitis".[4][5]

In his 1710 treatise Diverses observations anatomiques, Littré was the first to suggest the possibility of performing a lumbar colostomy for an obstruction of the colon.[6]

Jean Louis Petit was one of his students.[7] So was Jacques-Bénigne Winslow in 1707. He died in Paris.



  1. ^ Not on July 21, as has been repeated by all his biographers after Fontenelle, but on July 17, 1654: Charles Portal. Histoire de la ville de Cordes, Tarn (1222-1799). Imprimerie Nouguiès, 1902, p. 471. Portal, who wrote the history of Littré's native town, was in a position to access official records.
  2. ^ Littre's hernia @ Who Named It
  3. ^ Littre's glands @ Who Named It
  4. ^ Littreitis @ Who Named It
  5. ^ Canadian Practitioner, Volume 31
  6. ^ Atlas of Intestinal Stomas edited by Victor W. Fazio, James M. Church, James S. Wu
  7. ^ Great Ideas in the History of Surgery by Leo M. Zimmerman, Ilza Veith

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