- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Henri Luc

Born  1855
Died  1925

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French laryngologist, born January 6, 1855, Saint-Omer at the French-Belgian border; died September 25, 1925, Paris.

Biography of Henri Luc

As a student at Lille, Henri Luc was so successful that he was appointed prosector in 1875, at the age of 20. He continued his studies at Paris, becoming interne in 1879, and obtained his medical doctorate in 1884. He then turned to otolaryngology and went to Vienna for further studies under Adam Politzer (1835-1920) and Leopold von Schrötter (1837-1908.). Adam Politzer, the first professor of otology in the world, attracted large numbers of physicians for postgraduate training.

Back in Paris Luc commenced a practice – dispensaire – that was soon to become famous. He demonstrated the relation between inflammations of the nose and the ears and devised surgical instruments. He was a pioneer in modern otosurgery.

Luc devoted much interest in the treatment of inflammations in the sinus maxillaris and the frontal sinuses. In 1895, in London, he described an operational method for drainage of frontal sinuses with drainage to the nose via sinus ethmoidale. He was not, however, the first to operate frontal sinuses. In 1885 the Aberdeen surgeon Alexander Ogston (1844-1929) had performed the same operation, though without drainage. Later Gustav Killian (1860-1921), and above all, Albert Jansen-Ritter (1859-1933), were to originate the modern methods of surgical operations for the frontal sinuses. In 1894 Henri Luc gave the first description of his operation of the sinus maxillaris.

Luc is generally considered the father of French oto-rhinology. He had a fine sense of humour and was an accomplished linguist.


  • Des abcès du sinus maxillaire. Paris, 1889.
  • Les névropathies laryngées. Paris, 1898.
  • Leçons sur les suppurations de l'oreille moyenne. Paris, 1900. 2nd edition. 1910.
  • Examen critique des méthodes d'ouverture des antres maxillaires et frontaux.
    In Monogr. oto-rhino-laryng., Nr. 10. Paris.
  • Leçons sur les suppurations de l’oreille moyenne et des cavités accessoires des fosses nasales. 1900. Biographical:
  • Isidor Fischer (1869-1943), publisher:
    Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Ärzte der letzten fünfzig Jahre.
    Berlin – Wien, Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1932.
  • Tomas Gejrot:
    George Caldwell och Henri Luc: Införde radikalare kirurgisk teknikk för utrymning av abscesser i käkhålan.
    Läkartidningen, Stockholm, 1991, 88 (1-2): 45.
    In the series: Mannen bakom syndromet [The Man Behind the Syndrome].

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