Johann Friedrich Dieffenbach

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Johann Friedrich Dieffenbach, 1840

Johann Friedrich Dieffenbach (1 February 1792 – 11 November 1847) was a German surgeon. He was born in Königsberg and died in Berlin.

Dieffenbach specialized in skin transplantation and plastic surgery. His work in rhinoplastic and maxillofacial surgery established many modern techniques of reconstructive surgery. His endeavours comprehended subcutaneous operations such as tenotomy, the surgical division of a tendon. Before the discovery of blood typing and blood matching, Dr. Dieffenbach researched blood transfusion, about which he published Die Transfusion des Blutes und die Infusion der Arzneien in die Blutgefässe (1828). In 1839, Dieffenbach performed the first successful myotomy for the treatment of strabismus on a seven-year-old boy with esotropia.[1]

Originally, the student J.F. Dieffenbach studied theology at the universities at Rostock[2] and Greifswald, and medicine at the Albertina university in Königsberg. From 1813 to 1815, he volunteered as a soldier in the Befreiungskriege (Napoleonic Wars) as a Jäger. In 1818, he participated in student politics at Jena, which activity impelled his leaving Königsberg in 1820. In 1822, he became doctor of medicine in Würzburg and worked as a surgeon in Berlin. In 1824, he married Johanna Motherby. In 1832, he became professor at the university of Berlin, and in 1840 became director of the Clinical Institute for Surgery at Charité Hospital. After his death in 1847, Bernhard von Langenbeck (1810–1887) replaced Dieffenbach as director of surgery.

Dieffenbach Medal (Dieffenbach-Medaille)[edit]

Awarded by the Vereinigung der Deutschen Plastischen Chirurgen (Association of German Plastic Surgeons), the Dieffenbach Medal was created by artist Fritz Becker. It was awarded for the first time in 1989 during the 20th annual meeting.[3]


  1. ^ Cyber-sight Surgical Management of Strabismus
  2. ^ See entry of Johann Friedrich Dieffenbach in Rostock Matrikelportal
  3. ^ Dieffenbach-Preisträger und -Vorlesungen Accessed 20 May 2011.