- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Hans Hermann Johannes Pfannenstiel

Born  1862
Died  1909

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German gynaecologist, born June 28, 1862, Berlin; died July 3, 1909, Kiel.

Biography of Hans Hermann Johannes Pfannenstiel

Hans Hermann Johannes Pfannenstiel was the son of a royal judge. He studied medicine in his native city Berlin and graduated from the Univesity of Berlin as a physician on August 13, 1885. He subsequently worked for two years – 1885-1887 – as an assistant physician in the city hospital in Posen, then assistant physician under Heinrich Fritsch (1844-1915) at the royal university women's clinic in Breslau until 1894.

Pfannenstiel obtained his doctorate on April 23, 1890 for his work “On the Pseudomucin of Cystic Ovarian Tumors” (in German). He was habilitated for obstetrics and gynaecology in 1890, and in 1896 became in charge of the gynaecological department of the hospital of the Sankt Elizabeth order (Elisabetherinnen) in Breslau. The same year he was appointed ausserordentlicher professor. In 1902 he was called to Giessen, and in 1907 moved once more, to Kiel, where he spent the remains of his life. He died from an infection he contracted during an operation.

Pfannenstiel was equally recognised as physician, surgeon, and teacher. He left a comprehensive written work, concerning the pathology of the ovaries, tumours of the uterus, the formation of carcinomas after ovariotomy and the encapsuling of the egg in the uterus. Pfannenstiel's incision is still a household term in operating rooms.

A list of his publications is in Monatsschrift für Geburtskunde, 1909, volume 30: 141.

We thank Søren Nørby, Copenhagen for information submitted.


  • Über die Krankheiten des Eiertstockes und des Nebeneierstockes.
  • Über die Geschwülste des Uterus (das traubige Sarkom), doppelte Carcinome, die Adenomyome).
  • Über Schwangerschaft bei Uterus didelphys. Über künstl. Frühgeburt.
  • Über das Deciduoma malignum.
  • Über Eieinbettung und Placentarentwicklung, über die Herkunft des Syncytium.
  • Ueber die Pseudomucine der cystischen Ovariengeschwülste.
    Leipzig, A. T. Engelhardt, 1890.
  • A. Jensen:
    Hermann Johannes Pfannenstiel (1862-1909). Zum 80. Todestag. Biographie eines großen deutschen Gynäkologen.
    Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde, 1990, 50, 326-334.

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