Friedrich Trendelenburg

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For information on the philosopher see the article on Friedrich Adolf Trendelenburg.

Friedrich Trendelenburg (May 24 1844December 15 1924) was a German surgeon and son of the philosopher Friedrich Adolf Trendelenburg. A number of medical treatments and terminologies have been named for him.

Trendelenburg was born in Berlin and studied medicine at the University of Glasgow and University of Edinburgh. He completed his studies in Berlin under Bernhard von Langenbeck, receiving his doctorate in 1866. He practiced medicine in Rostock and Bonn, and in 1895 he became surgeon-in-chief in Leipzig.

He is perhaps best remembered for the Trendelenburg position in which the patient is placed on a bed which is put into incline such that the patient's head is lower than his feet. Trendelenburg first used this technique in 1881 for an abdominal surgery.

He is also known for inventing Trendelenburg's cannula which is device used during surgery of the larynx to prevent the patient from swallowing blood during the operation.

Trendelenburg was interested in the surgical removal of pulmonary embolisms. His student, Martin Kirschner, performed the first successful pulmonary embolectomy in 1924, shortly before Trendelenburg's death.

Trendelenburg invented treatment of varicose veins which involved ligation of the saphenous vein. This became known as the Trendelenburg operation but this term may also apply to pulmonary embolectomy. Trendelenburg's test describes a test for varicose veins as well as a test to assess hip mobility.

The Brodie-Trendelenburg percussion test (also accredited to Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie) is a test for incompetent valves in superficial veins. Trendelenburg's symptom is a sign of congenital dislocation of the hip.

Trendelenburg was interested in the history of surgery. He founded the German Surgical Society in 1872.

He died in 1924 of cancer of the mandible, aged 80.


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