Augusto Pellegrini

Augusto Pellegrini (1877-1958) was an Italian surgeon.

His work encompassed an extensive range of subspecialties within surgery. He is renowned as a pioneer in limb amputation, kineplastic techniques, and the development of kinematic prosthesis with Giuliano Vanghetti (1861-1940) – allowing patients to use their own muscles in powering the prosthesis.

Pellegrini’s other work involved osteoplastic amputation; supporting early intervention for acute appendicitis; abdominal radiography in acute abdomen; ether as a safer anaesthesia; advocating specific surgical instruments in appendicectomy and gastroenterostomy; liver resection; pancretic cysts; and seroprophylaxis/therapy for gas gangrene.

He is eponymously associated with the Pellegrini-Steida lesion (1905), after publishing an early description of post-traumatic knee ossification (tibial collateral ligament), associated particularly with sports activities.

  • Born on June 26, 1877, in Fucecchio, Italy
  • Completed his medical studies at the Department of Medicine, Institute of Advanced Practical and Specialized Studies of Florence
  • 1906 – Head Surgeon at the United Hospitals of Città di Castello
  • 1907-1913 Director of Marradi Hospital
  • 1907-1910 Assistant at the Institute of General Surgery of Florence
  • 1910 – Lecturer in operative medicine at Institute of General Surgery of Florence
  • 1913 – Head of the Institute of Surgery at the University of Perugia. Head Surgeon and Director of the Mellino Mellini Hospital in Chiari until his retirement
  • Died on June 11, 1958 in Chiari, Italy

Medical Eponyms
Köhler-Pellegrini-Stieda lesion (Pellegrini-Stieda disease)

Ossified post-traumatic lesions at (or near) the medial femoral collateral ligament adjacent to the margin of the medial femoral condyle

Pellegrini called attention to a traumatic ossification of the collateral tibial ligament of the knee. He reported case of calcification, involving the collateral ligament of the knee in a 36-year-old man who fell at work from a height of 2 m striking the internal knee surface on an iron vessel on October 6, 1904.

Pellegrini 1905 calcification of the tibial collateral ligament
Pellegrini 1905: X-ray calcification of the tibial collateral ligament

Key Medical Attributions
  • Pellegrini collaborated with Giuliano Vanghetti (1861-1940) in kineplastic surgical technique to allow muscle force from a patient to be applied to prosthesis. Pellegrini advocated for limited re-amputations in achieving a functional skeletal stump.
  • He promoted specific surgical equipment for appedicectomy, and forceps in gastroenterostomy for intussusception to reduce haemorrhage during anastomosis.
  • He advocated for ether instead of chloroform as safer anaesthesia; and introduced disinfection of the hands solely with alcohol.
  • His other works include seroprophylaxis and serotherapy for gas gangrene; establishment of mountain hospitals in treating patients with pulmonary tuberculosis; neoplastic thrombosis of the inferior vena cava in malignant tumors of the kidney; pancreatic cysts; liver resection; intervention for appendicitis within 48-hours; and abdominal radiography for diagnostic clarification for an acute abdomen.

Major Publications
  • Pellegrini A. Ossificazione traumatica del ligamento collaterale tibiale dell’articolazione del ginocchio sinistro. [Traumatic calcification of the collateral tibial ligament of the knee joint] Clinica moderna (Firenze) 1905; 11: 433-439.
  • Pellegrini A. Studio clinico ed anatomo-patologico sopra 91 casi di appendicite. Clinica Moderna 1905;11:254–61.
  • Pellegrini A. Studio clinico ed anatomo-patologico sulla trombosi neoplastica della vena cava ascendente nei tumori maligni del rene. Morgagni 1906; 48: 1–26.
  • Pellegrini A. La resezione del Fegato. Contributo clinico, statistico e sperimentale. Firenze, 1910
  • Pellegrini A. Contributo allo studio della patogenesi delle cisti del pancreas. Riforma Medica 1910; 3: 57–62.
  • Pellegrini A. Sulla preferenza da darsi alla narcosi coll’etere somministrato a goccie. Gazzetta Internazionale di Medicina, Chirurgia, Igiene, Interessi professionali 1913;6:125–8.
  • Pellegrini A. Sieroprofilassi e sieroterapia della gangrena gassosa. Riforma Medica 1926;17:391–4.
  • Pellegrini A. Tecnica generale delle amputazioni comuni secondo il Ceci e suoi vantaggi. Chirurgia degli organi di movimento 1927; 11: 479–582.
  • Pellegrini A. Una pinza copro-emostatica per le anastomosi gastro-intestinali. Bollettino della Società medico-chirurgica Bresciana 1927; 4: 219–23.
  • Pellegrini A. Sull’opportunità di istituire sezioni ospedaliere in montagna. Riforma Medica 1929; 8: 298–301.



Doctor in Australia. Keen interest in internal medicine, medical education, and medical history.

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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