René Le Fort (1869-1951) was a French surgeon.

French army surgeon, Le Fort conducted a series of thorough, if slightly unethical, experiments on the heads of cadavers. As a result of this work he classified facial fractures as types I, II and III.

Le Fort had a distinguished career in surgery and teaching and served in both world wars.


  • Born 1869 Lille, France. Nephew of Léon Clément le Fort
  • 1890 – MD  ‘Topographie cranio-cérébrale avec applications chirurgicales
  • 1892 – French army hospital at Val-de-Grâce
  • 1912 – Military physician in First Balkan War
  • WW I – commendation for bravery for his actions at the Battle of Dinant
  • 1919 – Hôpital des Invalides
  • 1920 – Professor pediatric surgery and orthopedics, Lille Hospital
  • 1936 – President, Société française de chirurgie et orthopédique
  • 1937 – Retired
  • 1939 – Returned to work at University of Lille covering for colleagues who were part of the war effort
  • Died 1951

Medical Eponyms

Le Fort’s classification of facial fractures (1901)

Based on experiments conducted in 1900 by dropping bricks on 35 cadavers and observing the pattern of maxillary fractures.

Major Publications


  • Noffze MJ, Tubbs RS. René Le Fort 1869–1951. Clin Anat. 2011 Apr;24(3):278-81. [PMID 21433077]
  • Patterson R. The Le Fort fractures: René Le Fort and his work in anatomical pathology. Can J Surg. 1991 Apr;34(2):183-4. [PMID 2025808]
  • Gartshore L. A brief account of the life of René Le Fort. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2010 Apr;48(3):173-5. [PMID 19850380]

eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

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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