- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Giovanni Domenico Santorini

Born 1681
Died 1737

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Italian anatomist, born June 6, 1681, Venice; died May 7, 1737, Venice.

Biography of Giovanni Domenico Santorini

Giovanni Domenico Santorini was the son of an apothecary. He studied medicine at Bologna, Padua, and Pisa, receiving the doctorate in 1701. One of his teachers was Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694). In 1703 began anatomical dissections, and was a demonstrator in anatomy at Venice from 1706 to 1728, besides Giuseppe Grandi. In 1728 he became protomedicus and physician to the Spedaletto in that city.

Santorini was generally acknowledged as the outstanding anatomist of his time, carefully dissecting and delineating many difficult and complex gross features of the human body, such as facial muscles involved in emotional expression, accessory pancreatic ducts, and duodenal paillae. His name is associated with no less than 12 eponyms, of which only one, papillae of Santorini/Vater's tubercle is conjoint.

Santorini’s contributions began with Opuscula medica di structura (1705). His most important work was Observationes anatomicae (1724), a valuable exposition of details of human anatomy that contains “De musculis facies,” “De aure exteriore,” “De Cerebro,” “De naso,” De larynge,” “De iis,” “De abdominae,” “De virorum naturalibus,” and “De mulierum partis procreationes datis.” Santorini was a popular teacher and a pioneer in teaching obstetrics.

Unfortunately, his career was cut short by his untimely death, and his chief work, Septemdecim tabula etc, was not published until thirty-eight years after his death. Some consider this work one of the best of the eighteenth century.

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