Rene Jacques de Croissant Garengeot
Splanchnologia sive Anatomia Viscerum - Splanchnologia or the visceral anatomy
1733 - (German edition)
Born in 1688 in Vitre (Bretagne) France, Garengeot came from the family of a royal surgeon. His father was in charge of the hospital in Vitre and was his first teacher. Garengeot was educated first in the humanities, before embarking on a career as a surgeon. He received further surgical education at the hospital in Angers that serviced the Royal Navy. He subsequently took part in naval trips while part of the French maritime corps, gaining valuable experience on the sea. In 1711 he moved to Paris for further education. During a six-year period he was trained with Jacob Benignus Winslow, a Danish physician in the service of the French King and one of the early supporters of Pierre Fauchard’s seminal book, Le Chirurgien Dentiste. At age 37, in 1725 Garengeot is inducted into the Order of St’Come and three years later he is inducted into the Royal Society in London. In 1742 he is named Chief Surgeon of the Royal Infantry Regiment.
Known as a highly skillful surgeon and similar to Johann Scultetus, the famous German pioneer surgeon of the 17th century, Garengeot was an innovator of surgical instruments and techniques. His instruments and techniques are the most relevant for the advancement of surgery in 18th century France. Incidentally it also includes dental extraction keys that bear his name: Clef de Garengeot (see above).
His list of surgical innovations includes improved technique for surgery of the lachrymal fistula, nasal polyps, gall bladder, abdominal hernia, hydrocele, empyema and surgical excision for cancer.
Garengeot was also a prolific writer. Starting with 1720 he published Traite des operations de chirurgie (A study of surgical techniques), 1723 – Traite des instruments de chirurgie les plus utiles (A study on the most useful surgical instruments), 1728 – Splanchnologie ou traite d’anatomie concerne les visceres, (Visceral anatomy ), among others. This latter book is a practical description for those performing abdominal surgery. The 464-page book was highly successful, republished in 1739 and 42 and translated into German in 1733, a copy of which is in our collection.
Editorial note: Andrew I Spielman, based in part on Eloy, N.F.J. Dictionnaire historique de la medicine anciennce et modern. Vol 2, Mons, H Hoyois 1778, p. 305-306. @ https://www.biusante.parisdescartes.fr