Alfred Velpeau

Alfred-Armand-Louis-Marie Velpeau (1795 – 1867)

Alfred-Armand-Louis-Marie Velpeau (1795 – 1867) was a French Surgeon.

Skilled surgeon and anatomist writing over 340 titles on surgery, embryology, anatomy and obstetrics.

Credited with providing the first accurate description of leukaemia and of hidradenitis suppurativa (Velpeau disease)

Additionally associated with many (now archaic) anatomical landmarks and the Velpeau bandage


Medical Eponyms
  • Velpeau disease – hidradenitis suppurativa (1839)
  • Velpeau trench/fossa – Archaic Anatomical term for ischiorectal fossa.
  • Velpeau hernia – Archaic Anatomical term for femoral hernia
  • Velpeau’s canal – Archaic Anatomical term for inguinal hernia
  • Velpeau projection: variant of classic axial shoulder view.
  • Velpeau syndrome (Quadrilateral of Velpeau) – injury of the circumflex nerve due to a direct blow, stretching or prolonged compression of the posterior axillary region.
  • Velpeau bandage – soft bandage initially used for lower limb phlebitis and subsequently adapted to immobilize proximal fractures of the humerus by attaching the arm to the trunk.

Key Medical Attributions:

1825 – Credited with providing the first accurate description of leukemia. Velpeau reported the case of a 63-year-old woman who died following ‘fever, swollen stomach, and being generally weak‘. At autopsy, she was found to have an enormous spleen (twenty times larger than normal) and whose blood was ‘thick like gruel such that one might have asked if it were not rather laudable pus, than blood

Major Publications



Eponymous terms

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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