A short history of the hepato-biliary system


Author: Donald E Greydanus, Orhan Atay, Ransome Eke, and Joav Merrick
Page Range: 291-323
Published in: Journal of Alternative Medicine Research, 15#3 (2023)
ISSN: 1939-5868

Table of Contents


The quest for understanding the pathophysiology and management of hepatobiliary disorders has taken Homo sapiens thousands of years. The liver was viewed in religious terms at first and as designated priests utilized divination practice to predict the future, lasting lessons of anatomy were learned. The liver was viewed in various ways, including as the center of one’s life and/or the place of negative emotions (anger, greed, jealousy). Gallstones were described by Galen and Alexander of Trailles. Knowledge of anatomy led to etiologic understanding of hepatobiliary disorders and eventually methods of treatment emerged over the passing millennia. This discussion considers some of the polyglottic pantheons in this regard, including Galen of Pergamon (AD 129 – c.200/c.216), Avicenna (980-1037), Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), Francis Glisson (1597-1677), Giovanni Battister Morgagni (1682-1771), René Théophile Hyacinthe Laënnec (1781-1826), Claude Bernard (1813-1878), Henry W. Gray (1827-1861), Karl Wilhelm von Kupffer (1829-1902), Tadeusz Browicz (1847-1928), Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Thudichum (1829-1901), Samuel Alexander Kinnier Wilson (1878-1937), Frank H. Netter (1906-1991), and other sages of surgery and medicine. Much has been learned from the Greek myth of Promethius to the prodigious pantheons of progress in the past and present.

Keywords: History, medicine, hepato-biliary system

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