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April 29, 1968

Felix Platter and Dupuytren's Contraction

JAMA. 1968;204(5):405. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140180055021

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To the Editor:—  Your essay on Felix Platter (Platerus, 1536-1614), anatomist, clinician, and official physician to the city of Basle (203: 357, 1968) was of great interest to me. In a paper on the clinical and historical aspects of "Dupuytren's Contracture," (Z Gewerbepath Gewerbehygiene3:23, 1932), I mentioned the fact that Platter was the first author who described these clinical manifestations more than 200 years before Dupuytren. He did so in the following words:Insignis artifex lapicida quidam, saxum immensem volvens, adeo tendinas in sinistrae manus vola ad digitos, annularem et minimum definentes, ei attracti sunt, ut illi a vinculis quibus retinentur, laxati elevatique, duas chordas sub cute tensas in altum refferent, contractique duo hi digiti et attracti, postea semper manserint.This description can be found in Platter's treatise, Observationum in Hominis Affectibus (1614), mentioned in your biographical essay. His description of what Dupuytren later (1832) called "rétraction permanente