Jacques Lisfranc de Saint-Martin

Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin (1787 – 1847)

Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin (1787 – 1847) was a French Surgeon.

Founder of a great number of surgical procedures including – surgical resection of the rectum in the treatment of rectal carcinoma; lithotomy in women and the amputation of the cervix uteri

Performed and recorded many amputations most notably: désarticulation de l’épaule (1814); désarticulation tarso-métatarsienne: opération dite de Lisfranc (1815); désarticulation des métacarpes (1823), des phalanges des doigts (1823), de l’articulation coxofémorale (1823)

Eponymously affiliated with the Lisfranc joint/fracture/injury/amputation after he described an amputation method through the tarsometatarsal joints in 1815

  • Born 12 April 1787, Saint-Paul-en- Jar, Loire
  • 1806-1813 Interne à l’Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon et de Paris (under Guillaume Dupuytren)
  • 1813 – Medical doctorate – Thèse de médecine de Paris n° 135 (Describing Dupuytren’s operation for the removal of the lower jawbone)
  • 1814 – Army surgeon – Médecin-adjoint for a year
  • 1826 – Chief surgeon at L’Hôpital de la Pitié, Paris
  • 1830 – First to perform rectal carcinoma resection
  • Died 12 May 1847. On his tomb, his favourite maxim:

Si la chirurgie est brillante quand elle opère, elle l’est encore bien davantage lorsque, sans faire couler de sang et sans mutilation, elle obtient la guérison des malade

Surgery is bright when operating but it is still brighter when there is no blood and mutilation and yet leads to the patient’s recovery

Medical Eponyms
Lisfranc injury; ligament; joint; amputation…

Like Chopart (with the midtarsal joint), Lisfranc is eponymously associated with his tarsometatarsal forefoot amputation; the joint disarticulated; and the associated fracture-dislocation.

  • Lisfranc Amputation (tarsometatarsal disarticulation) – partial amputation of the foot at the tarsometatarsal joint. Famously performed by Lisfranc in less than a minute.
  • Lisfranc joint – the tarsometatarsal joint
  • Lisfranc ligament – connects the superolateral surface of the medial cuneiform to the superomedial surface of the base of the second metatarsal
  • Lisfranc injury – fracture and dislocation/subluxation of the tarsometatarsal joints with lateral displacement of the metatarsals
  • Lisfranc tubercle – scalene tubercle on the first rib at the insertion of the scalenus anterior muscle (1815)

Lisfranc’s description of amputation through the tarsal-metatarsal joints requires several pages to describe it, but it took only 1 minute for him to perform it — not too short a time for the unanesthetized patient

Cassebaum WH


Lisfranc, known for his booming voice and choleric lectures, referred to his teacher and colleague Baron Guillaume Dupuytren as “the brigand of l’Hotel Dieu.” Their rivalry was such that Dupuytren prevented Lisfranc from becoming a professor of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris. Lisfranc was an excellent surgeon, but equally as polemic as Dupuytren and not a nice chap by all accounts…

Jacques Lisfranc of Saint-Martin was born on April 12, 1787 ( not on April 2, 1790 as claimed by most) – Review the baptism certificate and Plaque [Fischer LP 2005]

Major Publications


eponymictionary CTA


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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