- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Jan Mikulicz-Radecki

Born  1850
Died  1905

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Polish surgeon, born May 16, 1850, Czerniowce, Bukowina, Romania; died June 4, 1905, Wroclaw, Germany. His name is often given in the German form: Johannes Freiherr von Mikulicz-Radecki; born in Czernowitz, died in Breslau.

Biography of Jan Mikulicz-Radecki

Johann Freiherr von Mikulicz-Radecki studied in Vienna from 1869, received his medical doctorate there in 1875 and subsequently worked for three years as an apprentice in surgery under the guidance of Theodor Billroth (1829-1894). He was Billroth’s assistant from 1875 to 1882. Having been habilitated as Privatdozent of surgery in Vienna in 1880, he became professor ordinarius of surgery and director of the surgical clinic in Kraków in 1882. In 1887 he was called to the same position at the University of Königsberg, and from 1890 until his death in 1905 at Breslau.

Mikulicz contributed prodigiously to cancer surgery, especially on organs of the digestive system. He was first to suture a perforated gastric ulcer (1885), surgically restore part of the oesophagus (1886), remove a malignant part of the colon (1903), and describe what is now known ass Mikulicz’ disease. In 1881 he developed improved models of the oesophagoscope and gastroscope.

As an ardent advocate of antiseptics he contributed to its perfection. He used a gauze mask and was one of the first to use gloves during surgery. Rubber gloves were subsequently introduced by William Stewart Halsted (1852-1922) to protect the hands of his head nurse who was sensitive to the antiseptics and whom Halsted later married. The gloves were designed by the American tyre millionaire inventor of the vulcanisation process Charles Goodyear (1800-1860), who was a good friend of Halsted.

Ernst Ferdinand Sauerbruch (1875-1951), his protégé, devised a pressure chamber which enabled Mikulicz and he to become the originators of modern thoracic surgery, since they could operate without causing collapse of the lungs.

Mikulicz made Breslau an international centre for surgery. Perhaps because of his origins he was frequently consulted by people from Latvia and neighbouring areas. One time he corrected a phimosis (narrowing of the prepucial opening) of the son of a nobleman, who after the success of the operation had a banquet in his honour. By midnight only half the courses were served and Mikulicz felt satiated, but on the stroke of midnight 12 barbers with assistants entered, shaved their guests and refreshed them with hot and cold compresses and then withdrew for the banquet to continue.

Mikulicz was a perfectionist and a sentimentalist who loved music and was an able pianist. When he realised he was dying of cancer he asked Sauerbruch to write his obituary, which he himself edited.

With Bernhard Naunyn (1839-1935)m, Mikulicz-Radecki in 1896 founded Mitteilungen aus dem Grenzgebieten der Medizin und Chirurgie.

We thank Jaroslaw Kuzdzal, MD, for information submitted.


  • Über die Beziehungen des Glycerins zu Coccobacteria septica und zur septischen Infection.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, 1878.
  • Die antiseptische Wundbehandlung und ihre Technik.
    Mittheilungen des Vereins der Ärzte in Nieder-Oesterreich, Wien.
  • Zur Sprayfrage. Langenbeck’s Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, 1880.
  • Über die Anwendung der Antiseptik bei Laparotomien.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, XXVI.
  • Über Gastroskopie und Ösophagoskopie.
    Wiener medizinische Presse, 1881, 22: 1405-1408, 1437-1443, 1473-1475, 1505-1507, 1537-1541, 1573-1577, 1629-1631.
    Mikulicz was the first to use the electric oesophagoscope invented by Leiter in 1880.
  • Über die Verwendung des Jodoforms bei der Wundbehandlung und dessen Einfluss auf fungöse und verwandte Processe.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, XXVII.
  • Die Verwendung des Jodoforms in der Chirurgie. Wien Kl. 1882.
  • Perforationsperitonitis. Volkmann’s Sammlung klinischer Vorträge, 1883.
  • Ueber die Bedeutung der Bluttransfusion und Kochsalzinfusion bei akuter anämie.
    Wiener Klinik, 1884, Heft 7. Separate printing: 20 pages.
  • Über einige Modificationen des antiseptischen Verfahrens.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, 1885, 31.
  • Über Laparotomie bei Magen- und Darmperforationen.
    [Volkmann’s] Sammlung klinisher Vorträge. Leipzig, 1885.
  • Ein Fall von Resection des carcinomatösen Oesophagus mit plastischem Ersatz des excidierten Stückes.
    Prager medizinische Wochenschrift, 1886, 11: 93-94.
    Mikulicz was the first to make a plastic reconstruction of the oesophagus after the resection of its cervical portion for carcinima.
  • Zur operativen Behandlung der Pylorusstenose.
    Centralblatt für Chirurgie, Leipzig, 1887.
  • Zur operativen Behandlung des Empyems der Highmorshöhle.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, 1887, 34: 281-286.
    Mikulicz's operation for the treatment of disease of the accessory nasal sinuses.
  • Erfahrungen übder den Dauerverband und die Wundbehandlung ohne drainage.
    Klinisches Jahrbuch, 1888.
  • Zur operativen Behandlung des prolapsus recti et coli invaginati.
    Verhandlungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Chirurgie, Berlin, 1888, 17: 294-317.
    Description of Mikulicz's important operation for complete prolapse of the rectum.
  • Zur Operation der angeborenen Blasenspalte.
    Zentralblatt für Chirurgie, Leipzig, 1889, 26: 641-643. First enterocystoplasty.
  • Atlas der Krankheiten der Mund- und Rachenhöhle.
    With Paul Michelson (1846-1891). Berlin, 1891-1892.
  • Über Versuche, die antiseptische Wundbehandlung zu einer wirklich keimfreien Methode zu vervollkommenen.
    Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift, Berlin, 1897.
  • Die Krankheiten des Mundes. Jena, 1898; 4th edition, 1922.
  • Die Desinfektion der Haut und Hände mittels Seifenspiritus.
    Deutsche medicinische Wochenschrift, Berlin, 1899.
  • Über die Ausschaltung toter Räume aus der Peritonealhöhle.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, XXXIII.
  • Zur operativen Behandlung des stenosirenden Magengeschwürs.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, XXXVII.
  • Beiträge zur Technik der Operation des Magencarcinoms.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, LVII.
  • Über seitliche Verkrümmungen am Knie u. deren Heilungsmethoden.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, XXIII.
  • Eine neue osteoplastische Resektion am Fusse.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, XXVI.
  • Beiträge zur plastischen Chirurgie der Nase.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, XXX.
  • Die unblutige Reduction der angeborenen Hüftverrenkung.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, IL.
  • Über ausgedehnte Resektionen an langen Röhrenknochen wegen maligner Geschwülste.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, L.
  • Die Krankheiten des Mundes.
    With Hermann Kümmel (1852-1937), Jena, 1898.
    First published in an abridged version under the title of
  • The diseases of the mouth in the American compilation Twentieth Century Practice; New York, 1896.
  • Orthopädische Gymnastik gegen Rückgratsverkrümmungen und schlechte Körperhaltung. With V. Tomasczewski. Jena, 1900; 3rd edition, 1908.
  • Chirurgische Erfahrungen. ueber das Darmcarcinom.
    [von Langenbeck’s] Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, 1903, 69: 28-47.
    Development of Oscar Thorvald Bloch's (1847-1926) two-stage operation for resection of tumours of the rectum. This operation is also known as Bloch-Mikulicz operation.
    Whole volume offered entire for sale in 2000 for $300.00.
  • G. Kraft:
    Erinnerungen an Johannes von Mikulicz und Schönborn. Leipzig, 1926.
  • Henriette von Mikulicz-Radecki:
    Erinnerungen an Wien, Krakau, Königsberg und Breslau.
    The memoirs of his wife. With a foreword by Klaus Kausch, and epilogue by Emanuel Turczynski. Dortmund 1988.

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