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04.07.2016 | Rhinology | Ausgabe 1/2017

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology 1/2017

A 1842 skull from Dupuytren’s museum of Paris: an original artifact of Joseph Gensoul first maxillectomy technique

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology > Ausgabe 1/2017
Nadia Benmoussa, Jennifer Kerner, Patrice Josset, Patrick Conan, Philippe Charlier
Wichtige Hinweise
Award for the Best Communication: 48th French Congress of National Society of Head and Neck Cancerology Surgery (Société Française de carcinologie cervico-faciale/SFCCF), Toulouse, France, on 20th November 2015 (http://​www.​sfccf-2015.​org).


Joseph Gensoul was a pioneer of ENT surgery. In 1827, he performed the first total maxillectomy on 17-year-old boy. His work inspired many surgeons, who were previously unwilling to remove maxillary tumours. A paleopathological study performed in the Dupuytren museum allowed us to identify a skull from the early 19th century, with a large maxillar tumour. There were indications that this skull was operated according to Gensoul’s technique. The aim of this study is to confirm that this patient had, in fact, received this surgical treatment. This is a historical and descriptive paleopathological study of a skull of the early 19th century of Dupuytren Museum in Paris. The historical research was conducted in collaboration with the French Academy of Medicine and the Museum of Medicine History (Paris). Bones mark cut studies allowed us to confirm that the patient was operated according to the method described by Gensoul in his “Surgical letter” in 1833. Our historical research has allowed us to understand the perspectives of surgeons in the 19th century and the intellectual processes that led to this discovery. At a time when the robotization and industrialization dominate our art, it is interesting to look to our past, our origins, and our history. The study of ancient humans remains and allows us to understand the origin of our specialty and pay tribute to these pioneering surgeons. Their intellectual approach and boldness should be acknowledged and applauded, especially as it is also the key to our success.

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