William Halsted

William Stewart Halsted (1852 – 1922) was an American surgeon.

One of the four founding physicians of Johns Hopkins Hospital: William Henry Welch, William Osler, Howard Kelly and William Stewart Halsted

Halsted operation – wide amputation of the breast with ablation of the pectoral muscles and local and axillary lymph node cleaning in the mammary carcinoma.

Halsted syndrome – postoperative oedema of the upper limb after extensive amputation of the breast.

  • Born 1852
  • Died September 1922

Medical Eponyms

Key Medical Contributions

1885 – Performed the first brachial plexus block via a surgical approach


Halstead performed a ‘secret’ operation on Rudolph Matas (1860 – 1957) Matas for a ‘mass’ in 1903. It was never divulged during the life time of either man. Only upon autopsy following Matas’ death, was it noted that he had undergone a right orchidectomy.  

Major Publications



Eponymous terms


the person behind the name

Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM 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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