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Trendelenberg sign

  • For varicose veins patient lies on his back and raises his leg to empty the veins. A tourniquet is applied just below the saphenous opening. The patient is then stood up if the veins fill rapidly with the tourniquet in situ, there are incompetent communicating valves. If on release the veins fill rapidly from above it is due to incompetent sapheno-femoral valves
  • For congenital dislocations of the hip. If the child stands on the leg of the affected side, the pelvis tilts downwards towards the sound side and the buttock sags down, normally the pelvis tilts upward and the buttock therefore rises. In addition to congenital dislocation of the hip, this sign may be seen in late Perthe's disease, infantile paralysis of the gluteal muscles, old fractures of the neck of the femur and advanced osteoarthritis.
  • F Trendelenburg (1844-1924) German surgeon, Professor of Surgery in Leipzig. He was born in Berlin and studied in Glasgow and Berlin, graduating in Berlin in 1866. He was an innovative surgeon and initially was assistant to Langenbeck. It was during this time that he worked on stricture of the trachea and went to Rostock as Professor of Surgery in 1875. Here he introduced gastrostomy in the treatment of oesophageal stricture and was the first surgeon to suture the patella in 1878. He used his position for operating on viscera in 1881. In 1882 he was appointed Professor of Surgery at Bonn and afterwards went to Leipzig in 1895, where he remained until his retirement in 1911. He introduced an operation for varicose veins and made an attempt at surgical removal of a thrombosis in a patient with pulmonary embolism in 1908.  He lived to see his pupil, Kirschner, perform the first successful embolectomy in 1924. He was founder of the German Surgical Society in 1872, and was greatly interested in surgical history, writing an account of ancient Indian surgery as well as an autobiography. He died from a carcinoma of the mandible.



Last updated: 03 January 2011

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