Our Sponsors caatmsmtdad    Medical Terminology Daily (MTD) is a blog prepared by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. as a service to the medical community, medical students, and the medical industry. We will post a workweek daily medical or surgical term, its meaning and usage, as well as biographical notes on anatomists, surgeons, and researchers through the ages. Be warned that some of the images used depict human anatomical specimens.

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A Moment in History 
Sir Astley Paston Cooper
Sir Astley Paston Cooper
(1768 - 1841) 

An English anatomist and surgeon, Astley Cooper started his medical studies when he was only 16, at the St. Thomas hospital in London. He studied under Henry Cline, and later under John Hunter. Astley Cooper was a well-known anatomist, lecturer, and surgeon in his time. He is known for his many studies in abdominal hernia, otology, aneurysms, and the anatomy and diseases of the breast. In 1804 he described the abdominal transversalis fascia and the internal inguinal ring.

Born in the village of Brooke, Norfolk. At 16 years of age he was placed under the tutelage of Henry Cline (1750 - 1827), senior surgeon at the St. Thomas hospital in London for a seven-year apprenticeship. In 1789 he was appointed as an anatomy lecturer at the same hospital. In 1800 Cooper was appointed Surgeon to the Guy's Hospital in London.

He was the first to attempt the ligation of the abdominal aorta in a patient that had suffered an aortic abdominal aneurysm rupture. The patient survived for one additional day. "Astley Cooper introduced no new philosophy, policy or practice into surgery but was the perfect exponent of the scientific approach to surgery combined with skillful and successful practical ability" Brock (1969)

Cooper’s name survives in several eponymous anatomical structures and diseases he described, following are two of them:

Cooper's ligaments of the breast: Connective tissue ligamentous strands between the pectoral fascia and the skin overlying the breast. • Cooper's pectineal ligament: A thickening of the periostium on the superior aspect of the pubic bone, lateral to the pubic tubercle. This structure is a preferred site for staple positioning during a laparoscopic herniorrhaphy. When placing the staples, consideration should be placed on the potential presence of an anatomical vascular variation named the "Corona Mortis".

Although Cooper published a number of books and research papers, his seminal contribution to surgery was his two-volume "Treatise on Hernia". The first volume was published in 1795 and the second volume in 1807, with a revised second edition published in 1827.

1. "Sir Astley Paston Cooper." Singal, R. et al. Indian J Surg 73:1 (2011): 82-84.
2. "Sir Astley Paston Cooper, 1768-1841:the prince of surgery"Rawling, EG. Can Med Assoc J 99.5 (1968): 221.
3. "The life and work of Sir Astley Cooper" Brock, RC. Ann Royal Coll Surg England 44.1 (1969): 1-18
Photograph courtesy of: surgical-tutor.org.uk 


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[Infundibulum] is a Latin word and it means "funnel". The plural form is [infundibula]. Variations of the word include [infundibuliform] meaning "with the shape or form of a funnel], and [infundibular] meaning "pertaining to a funnel". This word is widely used in human anatomy and embryology:

Infundibuliform fascia: Funnel-shaped portion of the transversalis fascia that is directed toward and forming the internal inguinal ring.

Hypophyseal infundibulum: An inferior extension of the hypothalamus forming a funnel-shaped stalk connected to the hypophysis or pituitary gland. (see image)

Cystic infundibulum: The funnel-shaped portion of the gallbladder

Ethmoidal infundibulum: a funnel-shaped extension of the middle meatus of the ethmoid bone, etc.

Uterine infundibulum: Refers to the funnel-shaped distal opening of the uterine tube

The term infundibulum is also found in heart anatomy. It refers to funnel-shaped extensions of the cardiac chambers. This is well-illustrated by both the cone-like right and left ventricular outflow tracts toward the semilunar valves (aortic and pulmonary). In the case of the atrioventricular valves (tricuspid and mitral) there is also described an infundibular region. In all cases, these funnel-shaped regions allow for smooth, non-turbulent blood flow towards their respective valves.

Word suggested by:J.Estrada. Original image courtesy of bartleby.com