Alexis Littré

Alexis Littré (July 17, 1654[1] – February 3, 1726) was a French physician and anatomist born in Cordes (currently Cordes-Tolosannes in the department of Tarn-et-Garonne).


Littré studied medicine in Montpellier and Paris, receiving his doctorate in 1691. In 1699 he became a member of the Académie des Sciences.

In Paris, he taught anatomy and was the author of numerous medical publications. He was the first to give a description of a hernial protrusion of an intestinal diverticulum. This condition is now referred to as "Littré's hernia".[2]

He also described the mucous urethral glands of the male urethra. These structures were to become known as "Littré's glands",[3] and their inflammation is sometimes called "littréitis".[4][5]

In his 1710 treatise Diverses observations anatomiques, Littré was the first to suggest the possibility of performing a lumbar colostomy for an obstruction of the colon.[6]

Jean Louis Petit was one of his students.[7] So was Jacques-Bénigne Winslow in 1707. He died in Paris.



  1. Not on July 21, as has been repeated by all his biographers after Fontenelle, but on July 17, 1654: Charles Portal. Histoire de la ville de Cordes, Tarn (1222-1799). Imprimerie Nouguiès, 1902, p. 471. Portal, who wrote the history of Littré's native town, was in a position to access official records.
  2. Littre's hernia @ Who Named It
  3. Littre's glands @ Who Named It
  4. Littreitis @ Who Named It
  5. Canadian Practitioner, Volume 31
  6. Atlas of Intestinal Stomas edited by Victor W. Fazio, James M. Church, James S. Wu
  7. Great Ideas in the History of Surgery by Leo M. Zimmerman, Ilza Veith

External links

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