Biography of Leonardo Galli (1751-1830)

Medical Spanish surgeon born in Tarragona in 1751 and died in Madrid in 1830.

He received his first surgical training at the hands of Salvador Corbella, who held the position of Surgeon of the hospital in Tarragona. Later, he moved to Barcelona and enrolled in the College of surgery which had been established in that city. In this institution he had as a teacher, among others, FranciscoPuig, and befriended his school-fellow Domingo Vidal, who went on to become Professor of this school. The race of Galli was primarily developed as a military surgeon, and came to occupy the leading places. He was surgeon of Chamber of the King and the first company Spanish of the Real body of Knights guards of Corps, director and member of the governing upper Board of Royal schools of surgery, and belonged to the Royal Vascongada society of friends of the country and the Medical Academy Matritense, belonged also to the Academy of Sciences and arts of Barcelona.

Leonardo Galli printed production was limited to three works. One of them is the story of a clinical case of a child who was born alive without brain, cerebellum and Medulla and is intended to defend the old Aristotelian idea that the heart is the most important organ of the human body, superior even to the brain. Another letter of Galli, also of short extension, was published in 1822 and was a defense of the benefits that resulted in the unification of medicine and surgery, the idea for which had also fought his countrymen Pedro Virgili and Antonio Gimbernat.

The most important work of Leonardo Galli is, without doubt, the entitled further inquiries about fractures of the patella, published in 1795. In this book he showed a concept of surgery comparable to the most avant-garde Surgeons of Europe possessed. Faithful to this orientation, he devoted the first part of the book to make a careful presentation of the anatomy of the area. It did oppose theoretical treaties to his own personal experience, being for him, as for Gimbernat, the corpse the most reliable book of all. In this part also studied the embryogenesis of the patella and their physiology, and comes to compare his role that exercised the sesamoid bones.

Regarding pathology, reviewed the most frequent causes of fracture of the patella and pointed out that these were mainly three: external trauma, diseases of contraction, along with the trauma of the femoral quadriceps and patella. Recognition of this last cause it is one of the most original contributions of Galli. The clinical consideration and therapeutic made evident that he possessed an excellent bibliographic information, which could counterbalance with its own clinical experience.

But according to Juan Riera making Galli book in one of the most important works of the Spanish surgery illustrated is, without doubt, the use of experiments to resolve certain pathological and therapeutic issues. Proceeded to sawing and fracturing the kneecap on the corpse and studied with any trifle the shape and behavior of this fracture. As a result could settle in transverse fractures following laws general:1. nd the kneecap in its transverse fracture is broken by its front while the top remains United, 2nd this transverse fracture separation is always greater in the earlier with the rear edges and is in three-to-one relationship.He also said that in this type of fracture, when the knee is flexed increases the separation between the fragments of the patella. On the contrary, longitudinal fractures the separation between the edges increases when occurred the leg extension. These were not merely theoretical knowledge, they had an immediate practical application and Galli recommended, logically, will keep the leg in extension when these were cross-cutting and bending when they were longitudinal to help consolidate the fractures.

In the same work, it dealt also with olecranon fractures, also making experiences in corpses in order to understand its mechanism. He came to the conclusion that pure longitudinal fractures were rare, being much more the oblique, tranveso-oblique or transverse. This book was translated into Italian by the Jesuit Francisco Campi in 1798.



Live observation of a girl who was born without brain, cerebellum and Medulla, illustrated with a report on the principles of animality, Raimundo Martí, 1786; Further inquiries about fractures of the patella and illnesses dealing with them, mainly with the cross, Madrid, in the actual printing, 1795. Response to the report into the numbers III and IV, volume II, pages 79 and 145 of the medical-surgical decades, printing press which was Fuentenebro, 1822.


LÓPEZ PIÑERO, J. M. and GARCIA BALLESTER, L. The "new inquiries about fractures of the patella" of Leonardo Galli (1795) and the beginnings of experimental Traumatology, Revista Española de surgery Osteoarticular, 2 (1967), 437-452.RIERA PALMERO, J. Spanish surgical texts from the second half of the 18th century, books of history of medicine Hispaniola, 7 (1968), 35-133.alvarez, j.: history of Spanish surgery. Madrid 1961.