Léon Clément Le Fort

Léon Clément Le Fort

Léon Clément Le Fort (1829 – 1893) was a French surgeon.

Le Fort discovered and described the direct communications between the bronchial and pulmonary vessels. Le Fort was a strong advocate of the principles of asepsis prior to the development of bacteriology.

Surgeon in the Hospice des Enfants-Assistés (1865), Midi (1866), Cochin (1867), Lariboisière (1872), Beaujon (1873), Hôtel-Dieu (1882), Necker (1884) and Pitié (1890)

FOAMed supporter ‘Liberté de l’enseignement

  • Born 5 December 1829 Lille, France. Uncle and Godfather of René Le Fort (1869-1951)
  • Studied medicine Military Hospital, Lille until closed in 1850
  • 1850-1856 Studied medicine Paris
  • 1858 – Medical doctorate. Thesis ‘Recherches sur l’anatomie du poumon chez l’homme‘ [Research on lung anatomy in humans]
  • 1870 – Head of a voluntary field hospital in Metz, French Army in the Franco-Prussian War.
  • 1873 – Professor of operative surgery teaching the surgical clinic course at the Hôtel-Dieu
  • 1884 – Officer of the Legion of Honor
  • 1892 – First chair at the Hôtel-Dieu
  • Died 19 October 1893 Ménestreau-en-Villette, France

Medical Eponyms
Le Fort fracture of the ankle (1875, 1886)

[aka Wagstaffe-Le Fort Fracture]: vertical fracture of the anteromedial distal fibula (Wagstaffe tubercle) with avulsion of the anterior tibiofibular ligament.

Wagstaffe-Le Fort Fracture
vertical fracture of the anteromedial portion of the distal fibula (arrow) with avulsion of the ATFL: Radiographics

1875William Warwick Wagstaffe reviewed 62 ankle fractures sustained between 1866-1868 following direct and indirect violence. He recorded 2 cases in which he could find ‘no parallel instance to the two which are subjoined‘. Wagstaffe original description:

I find in none of the standard works to which I have able to refer any mention of cases in which the fracture was of the character found in the two cases here recorded. The peculiar feature of these cases was the existence of a vertical fracture of the fibula in its lower end, with a displacement of the fractured portion in such a way that it was twisted round on its long axis.’

Wagstaffe 1875

1886Léon Clément Le Fort observed and described 3 clinical cases of isolated fracture of the anterior margin of the lateral malleolus corresponding to the attachment of the ligamentum malleoli lateralis anterius. In his opinion the fracture was produced by forced supination-adduction of the foot.

See also:  Tillaux-Chaput avulsion fracture – posterolateral tibia avulsion

Other medical eponyms
  • Le Fort Operation: to manage prolapsed uterus by adhering the anterior wall with the posterior wall of the vagina to oppose the descent of the uterus.
  • Le Fort amputation: Modifications of the Pirogoff operation, in which the calcaneus is sectioned horizontally instead of transversely.
  • Le Fort probe: Curved probe used for dilation of urethral strictures in the male

Key Medical Attributions

1874 – Le Fort was a FOAMed advocate and wrote a series of articles on ‘Liberté de l’enseignement et de la pratique de la médecine‘ [The freedom of practice and the freedom of the teaching of medicine]

Together with the official education of the Paris Faculty of Medicine, there was a revolution in independent education in Medicine which expanded throughout the 19th century. It served a dual purpose:

  • independent education included the same subject matter as the official courses, but did so in a more original and novel manner
  • at a time of rapid expansion of medical knowledge, it allowed the medical education to be integrated with scientific discoveries and impart them to students.

Whilst the Professors of the Faculty defended and argued for rigid and immutable medical teaching on an encyclopedic scale, the independent education allowed the development of specialisation such as dermatology, cardiology, ophthalmology, paediatrics, venereology as a result of independent educators interacting with a wide range of students. – Pierre Huard 1974

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 asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.