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Augusto Pellegrini

Born  1877
Died  1958

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Italian surgeon, born June 26, 1877, Fucecchio, near Florence; died 1958.

Biography of Augusto Pellegrini

Augusto Pellegrini was born to a wealthy family in Fucecchio, near Florence, in Italy, on June 26th 1877, the son of Giovanni Pellegrini and Enrichetta Mariotti. After his studies in Florence he was appointed assistant in the general surgery department of Florence hospital, becoming professor of operative medicine in 1910. He was then director of the general surgery department of the university hospital in Perugia, Italy, supervisor for the emergency surgery service in Oltrarno and director of the hospital in Citta' di Castello, and in Marradi. In 1913 he became director of the hospital "Mellino Mellini" in Chiari, near Brescia, Italy. There he continued his career for four decades. He has been a pioneer in the field of prosthetic limbs.

In 1905, in the field of orthopaedics, he described post-traumatic knee ossification, associated particularly with sports activities, which took the name of Pellegrini disease. In collaboration with Giuliano Vanghetti (1861-1940), he contributed to the application of kinematic prostheses of the upper extremity (kineplasty), enabling the patient to use his muscles to power the prosthesis. His surgical innovations were particularly in the field of abdominal surgery, at a time when antibiotics were not available and when radiological diagnostics were in their infancy. He advocated the surgical treatment of acute appendicitis 'at presentation', namely within 24-48 hours of diagnosis, thereby reducing the development of abdominal complications. In 1904 he introduced disinfection of the hands solely with alcohol before each surgical operation, encouraging the healing of wounds by first intention.

We thank Fausto Labruto, Stockholm, Sweden, and Lorenzo Lorusso. Italy, for information submitted.


  • A. Porro, L. Lorusso:
    Augusto Pellegrini (1877-1958): contributions to surgery and prosthetic orthopaedics. Journal of Medical Biography, London, May 2007, 15 (2): 68-74.

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