John Peter Mettauer

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John Peter Mettauer (1787–1875) was an American surgeon and gynecologist born in Prince Edward County, Virginia. He was the son of surgeon Francis Joseph Mettauer.

Mettauer was a pupil at Hampden-Sydney College, followed by studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained his medical doctorate in 1809. In 1837 he founded a private medical school located between Prince Edward Court House and Kingsville, Virginia. In 1847 he allied his school with Randolph-Macon College, becoming the first medical department at Randolph-Macon.

Mettauer is remembered for his development of innovative surgical practices. Along with his two sons, he trained many physicians at his private medical school. In the 1830s and 1840s, he did pioneer work involving closure of vesicovaginal fistulae (VVF). He is also given credit for performing the first cleft palate operation in the Americas (1827).

Mettauer also designed and developed his own surgical instruments, some of which are on display at the Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum at Hampden-Sydney College. Also, The John Peter Mettauer Award for Excellence in Research is a prestigious award issued by Hampden-Sydney College.


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