April 1954


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Northwestern University Medical School.

AMA Arch Surg. 1954;68(4):570-573. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1954.01260050572021

IN 1883, Morvan of Lannilis described a condition of "analgesic weakness with whitlows of the upper extremity or paretic analgesia of the upper extremities." In this paper1 he described the condition of a 60-year-old man seen by him some 20 or 30 years previously, who had presented himself with a whitlow on one of his fingers and showed signs of an ascending infection. A necrotic terminal phalanx was noted, and the surgeon proposed its removal and judged that the incision would have to be made quickly, so that the patient would not suffer. He was quite surprised to find the procedure painless. After that instance, he observed several others with similar difficulties and stated that this condition consisted of a "weakness with analgesia of the upper extremity, first limited to one side then passing subsequently to the other and always blossoming forth in the production of one or more

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