Alessandro Codivilla

Alessandro Codivilla (1861 – 1912)

Alessandro Codivilla (1861 – 1912) was an Italian surgeon.

Accomplished orthopaedic surgeon known best for his work with external pin fixation and traction for limb lengthening [1903]

1898 Original description of the first pancreatic head resection (Whipple procedure)


  • Born 21 March 1861, Bologna
  • 1886 – MD, University of Bologna. Thesis: ‘On a case of empyema necessitathis pulsans. Estlander operation
  • 1899 – Director of the Rizzoli Institute of Bologna, working exclusively in orthopaedics
  • Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Bologna
  • Died 28 February 1912, Bologna

It is now time that we should earnestly endeavor to free ourselves from blind and empiric custom, and discover the means of lengthening the tissues to their greatest possible extent, while compatible with the maintenance of their physiologic functionsCodivilla, 1905

Tutti dovrebbero piangere quando una luce di sapere come Codivilla non illuminerà più la vita dei miseri” Augusto Murri, 1912

Key Medical Attributions

Reported new ways to treat many conditions, including polio residuals, clubfoot, scoliosis, and congenital dislocation of the hip

Medical Eponyms

Major Publications


  • Page CG. Alessandro Codivilla. The American Journal of Orthopedic Surgery. 1912;s2-9(4):716-717
  • Gamberini C. La resezione pancreatico-duodenale nel cancro della testa del pancreas. Arch Ital Mal Appar Dig. 1949;15:267–276.
  • Mostofi SB. Who’s Who in Orthopedics. Springer; 2005 pp 67-68
  • Cavina G. [Duodeno-pancreatectomy (head), Codivilla’s operation (1898). Historical vindication]. Bull Sci Med (Bologna). 1960;132:1-20. [PMID 13808629]
  • Schnelldorfer T, Sarr MG. Alessandro Codivilla and the First Pancreatoduodenectomy. Arch Surg. 2009;144(12):1179-1184
  • Peltier LF. The role of Alessandro Codivilla in the development of skeletal traction. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1969 Oct;51(7):1433. [PMID 4898579]
  • Brand RA. Advances in Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction: Alessandro Codivilla, MD, 1861–1912. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008 Dec; 466(12): 2901–2902. [PMC2628242]

eponymictionary CTA 2


the person behind the name

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and informatics. Asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | vocortex |

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