Peter Essex-Lopresti

Peter Gordon Lawrence Essex Lopresti (1916 – 1951)

Peter Gordon Lawrence Essex-Lopresti (1916-1951) was a British orthopaedic surgeon.

Notable work for Essex-Lopresti includes his classification and treatment of fractures of the calcaneus and his recommendations for paratroopers to avoid injury. Eponymously affiliated with the Essex-Lopresti fracture (1951) published a month before his sudden death.

Gifted pianist, highly promising career cut short aged 35 following an acute myocardial infarction.

  • Born on April 7, 1916
  • 1937 – Qualified medicine, the London Hospital (now Royal London)
  • 1938 – Qualified DA, anaesthetic training
  • 1940 – Commenced training in orthopedic surgery
  • 1942 – Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • 1943 – Surgical specialist in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) airborne division
  • 1947 – Consultant Orthopaedic surgeon, Birmingham Accident Hospital
  • 1951 – Hunterian Professorship. Hunterian Lecture (March 6, 1951) ‘The Mechanism, Reduction Technique, and Results in Fractures of Os Calcis.’
  • Died on June 13, 1951 at home (aged 35), myocardial infarction

Medical Eponyms
Essex-Lopresti fracture (1951)

An Essex-Lopresti injury involves the triad of a radial head fracture with dislocation of the distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) and disruption of the interosseous membrane (IOM)

In 1951, Essex-Lopresti reported two cases. He noted that:

  • this was a rare injury but suggested that DRUJ integrity must be inspected when a radial head fracture is present;
  • that radial head fracture and DRUJ dislocation were associated with IOM disruption;
  • excision of the radial head should be avoided and ORIF should be employed
  • in cases with severe comminution, a prosthesis could be used to replace the radial head
Essex-Lopresti fracture 1951
Comminuted fracture of radial head with proximal displacement of radial shaft. Dislocation of DRUJ with radial deviation at wrist. Essex-Lopresti 1951

Key Medical Attributions

1946 – ‘The Hazards of Parachuting‘ chronicled the parachute-related injuries with 20,777 parachute jumps made by men in the Sixth British Airborne Division. Essex-Lopresti defined three phases of the jump: Exit plane; Open chute and Landing. He provided recommendations paratroopers could employ to avoid injury included: extending the neck to avoid hitting the forehead trauma on exiting the plane and keeping legs together when landing to prevent ankle injuries

Major Publications



Eponymous terms

MBChB (University of Bristol), BSc (Durham University). Emergency medicine RMO at Sir Charles Gairdner hospital. Swimmer, interested in all things sports medicine.

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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