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Marie Philibert Constant Sappey (1810 – March 15, 1896) was a French anatomist who was born in Cernon, near the city of Bourg-en-Bresse.

He studied medicine at the University of Paris, earning his degree in 1843. Later he became a professor of anatomy in Paris, and in 1862 was elected to the Academy of Medicine, becoming its president in 1887. In 1868 he succeeded Jean-François Jarjavay (1815–1868) as chair of anatomy, a position he held until 1886.

Sappey was a highly regarded anatomist remembered for his research of the lymphatic system. In 1874 he published an anatomical atlas that included a detailed study of cutaneous lymphatic drainage. He devised a procedure to define and delineate the lymphatic system by injecting mercury into the skin of a cadaver in order to properly view the individual lymphatic vessels. Anatomist Henri Rouvière (1876-1952) continued Sappey's anatomical work of the human lymphatic system.

Associated Eponyms

Written Works

  • Traité d’anatomie descriptive avec figures intercalées dans le texte. Paris. 3 volumes, 1847-1863. 2nd edition in 4 volumes, 1867-1874. considered to be the first French anatomical work that combined descriptive anatomy with histology.
  • Anatomie, physiologie, pathologie des vaisseaux lymphatiques considerées chez l’homme et les vertébres. Paris, A. Delahaye & E. Lacrosnier, 1874. Known for its illustrations.
  • Atlas d’anatomie descriptive. 1879
  • Études sur l’appareil mucipare et sur le système lymphatique des poissons. 1880.




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