Williams Bryan

Williams McIver Bryan, Jr (1917-2007) was an American obstetrician and gynecologist.

Remembered for Bryan sign (1955) clinical sign of appendicitis in pregnancy of right lower quadrant pain elicited when the gravid uterus is shifted to the right side.

  • Born on June 24, 1917 in Savannah, Georgia
  • BS, University of South Carolina
  • 1944 – Graduated medical school; Medical College of South Carolina
  • Naval Medical officer in WWII and and the Korean Wars
  • 1950 – Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia General Hospital, South Carolina
  • Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Columbia Hospital (now Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital)
  • Master of Science, University of Tennessee School of Medicine in Memphis; Fred Adair Teaching Fellow in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine
  • Diplomat of the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Life Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Died on October 30, 2007 in Columbia, South Carolina

Medical Eponyms
Bryan Sign (1955)

Bryan presented at the 17th meeting of the South Atlantic Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on ‘Surgical Emergencies in Pregnancy and in the Puerperium’

In appendicitis, pressure on a pregnant uterus from the left side will often elicit pain in the right lower or middle quadrant.

Bryan 1955: 1205

1964Kurtz et al found that the most reliable physical finding for appendicitis during pregnancy is if pain is elicited when the gravid uterus is shifted to the right side (Bryan sign)

Bryan sign had an accuracy rate of 83.8% followed by rebound tenderness (68.6%) in diagnosing appendicitis during pregnancy.

Major Publications



Eponymous terms

Cite this article as: Uneesa Mahmood and Mike Cadogan, "Williams Bryan," In: LITFL - Life in the FastLane, Accessed on December 3, 2022, https://litfl.com/williams-bryan/.


the person behind the name

MBBS BSc (Hons), Imperial College London. Emergency trainee with an interest in research and all things surgical

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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