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Jacques Mathieu Delpech

Born  1777
Died  1832

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French anatomist and surgeon, born 1777, Toulouse; died October 28, 1832, Montpellier.

Biography of Jacques Mathieu Delpech

Jacques Mathieu Delpech completed his studies in Paris in 1801 with the title of doctor of medicine. He received his first appointment at the school of surgery and pharmacology that had recently been established in his native town of Toulouse, as a teacher of anatomy. He excelled and applied for Raphael Bienvenu Sabatier's (1732-1811) chair of operative surgery at the École de santé in Paris. However, Guillaume Dupuytren (1777-1835) was preferred. From September 27, 1812 held the chair of surgery at Montpellier.

Delpech was a fabulous surgeon, yet he focused a great deal of his attention on nonsurgical approaches to orthopaedic problems.

Besides his duties as a teacher, Delpech was the director of the Hôpital Saint-Eloi, and spent much of his time at a clinic for orthopaedic diseases he had established at the hospital. His orthopaedic institute at there included elaborate gardens, a heated winter gymnasium, and an outdoor gymnasium for the treatment of various musculoskeletal problems. His patients usually stayed for 1 or 2 years at the institute, and they would wear uniforms while they performed their exercises.

Delpech also found time for an extensive written work. He established and published the journal Chirurgie clinique de Montpellier (1823-1828) and Mémorial des hôpitaux du midi et de la clinique de Montpellier, (1829-1836). In 1809 he translated Scarpa’s work on aneurysms under the title of Réflexions et observations anatomico-chirurgicales sur l’anévrisme. He was a member of the l'Académie de médecine.

In 1832 Delpech was shot to death by a patient he had operated for variocele as he was riding back to Montpellier in an open carriage.


  • Possibilité et degrés de l’utilité de la symphyseotomie. Montpellier, 1801.
  • Réflexions sur les causes de l’anévrisme spontané. Paris, 1813.
  • Recherches sur les difficultés du diagnostic de l’anévrisme. Paris, 1813
  • Mémoire sur la complication des plaies et des ulcères connue sous le nom de pourriture d’hopital. 1815.
  • Précis élémentaire des maladies réputées chirurgicales. 3 volumes, 1816.
  • Considérations sur la difformité appelée pied-bots.
    In his: Chirurgie clinique de Montpellier. Paris, 1823, 1: 147-231.
    In this work Delpech described the beneficial effect of section of the tendo Achillis for club-foot; he performed the operation on May 9, 1816, and although not first to do so, he was the first to demonstrate the value of tonotomy in the correction of contracture deformities of the extremities.
  • Chirurgie clinique de Montpellier. 2 volumes. Paris, Gabon, 1823-1828.
    The first account of rhinolasty in France. On June 4, 1823, Delpech peformed the first of six cases of rhinoplasty by the Indian forehead flap method, and one (usuccessful) with a flap from the arm following Carl Ferdinand von Graefe (1787-1840). Delpech also was the first to restore the lower lip by means of a skin graft from the throat.
  • De l’orthomorphie par rapport à l´espèce humaine.
    2 volumes with atlas. Paris, Gabon, 1828.
    Delpech published a comprehensive treatise om deformities of the bones and joints. He established the tuberculous nature of Pott's disease. Delpech did more than any other man toward the development of orthopaedics in France.
  • Étude du cholera-morbus en Angleterre en en Écosse pendant les mois de Janvier et Fevrier 1832. 1832.
  • Anon:
    Rhinoplastic operation, performed with success at the Hospital St. Eloi de Montpellier by Professor Jacques-Mathieu Delpech.
    Reprinted from Lancet, 4: 123, July 24, 1824.
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, September 1969, 44 (3): 285-287.

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