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J Med Biogr. 2007 May;15(2):68-74.

Augusto Pellegrini (1877-1958): contributions to surgery and prosthetic orthopaedics.

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Dipartimento di Specialità Chirurgiche, Scienze Radiologiche e Medico Forensi, Cattedra di Storia della Medicina, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italy.


Augusto Pellegrini worked as a general surgeon in Northern Italy. In 1905, in the field of orthopaedics, he described post-traumatic knee ossification, associated particularly with sports activities, which took the name of Pellegrini disease. In collaboration with Giuliano Vanghetti, he contributed to the application of kinematic prostheses of the upper extremity (kineplasty), enabling the patient to use his muscles to power the prosthesis. His surgical innovations were particularly in the field of abdominal surgery, at a time when antibiotics were not available and when radiological diagnostics were in their infancy. He advocated the surgical treatment of acute appendicitis 'at presentation', namely within 24-48 h of diagnosis, thereby reducing the development of abdominal complications. In 1904 he introduced disinfection of the hands solely with alcohol before each surgical operation, encouraging the healing of wounds by first intention.

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