Leonidas (physician)

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Leonidas, (Greek: Λεωνίδας), a Greek physician who was a native of Alexandria, and belonged to the sect of the Episynthetici.[1] As he is quoted by Caelius Aurelianus,[2] and himself quotes Galen,[3] he probably lived in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Of his writings, which appear to have been chiefly related to surgical subjects, nothing now remains but some fragments preserved by Aëtius[4] and Paul of Aegina,[5] from which we may judge that he was a skillful practictioner.

Leonidas followed Galen in advocating the excision of breast cancer via a wide cut through normal tissues, but recommended alternate incision and cautery, which became the standard for the next 15 centuries. He provided the first detailed description of a mastectomy, which included the first description of nipple retraction as a clinical sign of breast cancer, and advocated systemic "detoxification of the body".[6]


  1. ^ Pseudo-Galen, Introd., c. 4, vol. xiv.; Caelius Aurelianus, De Morb. Acut., ii. 1
  2. ^ Caelius Aurelianus, De Morb. Acut., ii. 1
  3. ^ ap. Aëtius, iv. 2, 11
  4. ^ Aëtius, pp. 241, 397, 686-9, 691-2, 736, 741, 743, 799, 800, 802
  5. ^ Paul of Aegina, iv. 59, vi. 32, 44, 64, 67, 78
  6. ^ [1]