Ralph L Huber

Ralph L Huber (1890-1953)

Ralph L Huber (1890-1953) was an American Dentist and inventor.

Inventor of the Huber-point needle that later became known as the Tuohy needle. Primary aim of his non-coring needle was to reduce pain and trauma when injecting local anaesthesia for dental procedures.

Huber’s needle design was used by Edward Boyce Tuhoy for spinal catheter insertion through the needle to provide anaesthesia. Despite owning patent of the design Huber has little recognition in the original description of the Tuhoy needle


Biography

  • Born 1890
  • Trained as a dentist at the University of Oregon Dental School
  • Practiced dentistry in Seattle for 30 years
  • During the war Huber provided the US army with numerous of his inventions and designs
  • 1943 invented his Huber-point needle (patented 1946)
  • Died 1953

Medical Eponyms


Major Publications


Controversies

In 1946, Huber applied for a patent on a needle with a ‘transversely curved wall…end portion’. Huber made many of his inventions available to the US Army during the war, including the Huber point which was adopted by the Army in 1942 and it is possible that Tuohy first encountered the Huber point during his time in the US Army.

Controversy exists over whether Huber was in fact the creator of the now ‘Tuohy needle’ and was never properly referenced in Tuohy’s original work. Nonetheless, it was Tuohy that developed the use the Huber point for introduction of a catheter into the epidural space and his contribution to the development of continuous spinal epidural anesthesia cannot be disputed.


References

  • Lubisich JW. Ralph L. Huber, DMD: forgotten inventor of the ‘Tuohy’ needle. J Hist Dent. 2004 Jul;52(2):75-9. [PMID 15293720]
  • Eldor J. Huber needle and Tuohy catheter. Reg Anesth. 1995 May-Jun;20(3):252-3. [PMID 7547666]
  • Gow KW, Tapper D, Hickman RO. Between the lines: The 50th anniversary of long-term central venous catheters. Am J Surg. 2017 May;213(5):837-848. [PMID 28364951]
  • Martini JA, Bacon DR, Vasdev GM. Edward Tuohy: the man, his needle, and its place in obstetric analgesia. Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2002 Sep-Oct;27(5):520-3. [PMID 12373704]

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eponym

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