- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Caldwell-Luc operation

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A radical method of removing abscesses from the antrum Highmori / sinus maxillaris. Intraoral procedure in which an opening is made into the maxillary sinus by way of an incision into the supradental fossa opposite the premolar teeth, usually done to remove tooth roots or abnormal tissue from the sinus. After opening of the maxillary antrum, the sinus mucosa is stripped from the sinus wall. Additionally, an intranasal antrostomy is made.

The first operations in the sinus maxillaris were done in 1743 by Louis Lamorier (1696-1777) and later by Pierre Joseph Desault (1744-1795), both via fossa canina. In Berlin Ernst Georg Ferdinand Küster (1839-1904) originated modern surgery of the sinuses with a development of Desaults method of penetrating the wall of the sinus. Ludwig Grünwald (1863–1927) was the first to offer a comprehensive description of the diseases of the sinus maxillaris. In 1893, Robert Henry Scanes Spicer (1857-1925) in London, of the work of the others, suggested a similar operation.

Caldwell and Luc described their method independently of each other. In 1900 Henri Luc wrote that Caldwell had the priority to the operational method, and that Luc himself did not know of this until a year after he had conceived the same method.


  • P. J. Desault:
    Oeuvres chirurgicales. 3 volumes. Paris, C. Ve. Desault, an VI [1798]-1803.
    Posthumous publication by Xavier Bichat (1771-1892).
  • Henri Luc:
    Des abcès du sinus maxillaire. Paris, Steinheil, 1889.
  • George Walter Caldwell:
    Diseases of the accessory sinuses of the nose, and an improved method of treatment of suppuration of the maxillary antrum.
    The New York Medical Journal, 1893, 58: 526-528.
  • Ludwig Grünwald
    Die Lehre von den Naseneiterungen mit besonderer Rücksicht auf die Erkrankungen des Sieb- und Keilbeins und deren chirurgische Behandlung.
    München, Leipzig, J. F. Lehmann, 1893. 2nd, revised, edition, 1896.
    English translation 1900.
  • Robert Henry Scanes Spicer:
    The surgical treatment of chronic empyema of the antrum maxillare.
    British Medical Journal, London, 1894, 2: 1359-1360.
  • Henri Luc:
    Une nouvelle methode operatoire pour la cure radicale et rapide de l'empyeme chronique du sinus maxillaire.
    Archives internationales de laryngologie, d'otologie et de rhinologie, 1897: 77-93.

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