Niels Thorkild Rovsing (1862-1927) was a Danish surgeon
- Principle work focused upon general surgery and urology
- Eponymously linked with Rovsing’s sign to aid in the clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis
- He published over 200 papers and gained international notoriety, particularly for his innovative urological surgery, primarily focused upon horseshoe and polycystic kidneys.
- He was a strong advocate for antisepsis and Listerism, and is a considered a pioneer in his field.
- Born 26th April 1862 in Flensborg, Denmark 1885- Received his M.D in from the University of Copenhagen, followed by a PHD from the same institution in 1889 entilted ‘About the etiology, pathogenesis and treatment of cystitis’
- 1892-1902- Practiced surgery at the Red Cross Hospital and Queen Louise Children’s Hospital, both in Copenhagen
- 1902- Became Professor of Surgery
- 1904- Appointed Director of Surgery at Royal Frederiks Hospital
- 1908- Founded Danish Surgical Society with Eilert A. Tscherning
- 1910- Campaigned for better surgical accommodation in Copenhagen, leading to opening of Rigshospitalet (University Hospital Copenhagen)
- Honorary member of Edinburgh Medico-Chirurgical Society and the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland
- 1920- Declined position of Prime Minister of Denmark, but accepted position of Minister of Education
- Died 14th January 1927 from cardiac failure and complications from X-ray therapy for laryngeal cancer, aged 64
Key Medical Attributions:
- 1907 – Rovsing’s Sign – in modern usage- tenderness in the right lower quadrant when the left lower quadrant is palpated
- 1910 – Rovsing’s Operation I – procedure for decortication in polycystic kidney disease
- 1911 – Rovsing’s Syndrome – umbilical pain in horseshoe kidney caused by vascular compression, enhanced by dorsal flexion of the lumbar vertebrae
- 1911 – Rovsing’s Operation II – to separate a fused horseshoe kidney via division of the renal isthmus
- 1918 – Performed pioneering male to female sex reassignment surgery, according to Rovsing, the first of its kind
- Rovsing, T. Indirektes Hervorrufen des typischen Schmerzes an McBurney’s Punkt. Ein Beitrag zur diagnostik der Appendicitis und Typhlitis. (Indirect cause of typical pain at McBurney’s point. A contribution to diagnosis of Appendicitis and Caecitis) Zentralblatt für Chirurgie, Leipzig, 1907, 34: 1257-1259.
- Rovsing T. Blasenentzündung und ihreÄtiologie, Pathogenese und Behandlung. (About the aetiology, pathogenesis and treatment of cystitis) Berlin, Germany: Hirschwald; 1890.
- Rovsing T. Galdestenssygdommen og dens behandling. Tre prøveforelæ sninger holdte ved konkurrencen om et Professorat i kirurgi ved Københavns universitet. (Gallstone disease and its treatment. Three trial lectures held at the competition for a professor in surgery at the University of Copenhagen. Denmark; 1900. [Full Archive Text]
- ovsing T. Beitrag zur Symptomatologie, Diagnose und Behandlung der Hufeisenniere [Symptomatology, diagnosis and treatment of horseshoe kidney]. Z Urol 1911;5: 586-601.
- Rovsing T. Tuberculosis of the kidney. Ann Surg 1912;56: 521-43. [JAMA]
- Rovsing T. The treatment of multilocular kidney cystoma (Congenital cystic kidney) by means of multiple punctures. Am J Urol 1912;VIII:120. [JAMA]
- Rovsing T. Abdominal surgery-clinical lectures for students and physicians. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott. 1914 [Archive Full Text]
- In 1890 Rovsing was dismissed from role as Junior Surgeon at Royal Frederiks Hospital when he married, as he was appointed as an ‘unmarried junior surgeon’. The dismissal received national attention, leading to other doctors striking, and five months later Rovsing was reinstated as a ‘married junior surgeon’.
- Smith, PH. The Diagnosis of Appendicitis. Postgrad Med J. 1965 Jan; 41(471): 2–5. [PMC 2483159]
- Obituary: Niels Thorkild Rovsing. Br Med J. 1927 Feb 5; 1(3448): 265. [PMC 2454133]
- Lewis, SRR. Appendicitis BMJ 2011;343:d5976 [BMJ text]
- Hognason K, M.S., Swan KG, M.D. Niels Thorkild Rovsing: the Surgeon Behind the Sign. Am Surg 2014 12;80(12):1201-1206 [PMID 25513917]
- Torrild J. Danske kirurger-Professor Thorkild Rovsing. Illustreret Tidende. November 27, 1904;46:1-2.
- Raf L. [The men behind the syndrome: Emil Perman and Nils Thorkild Rovsing. Scandinavian surgeons were the first to describe signs of appendicitis]. [in Swedish] Lakartidningen [Internet]. 1984 [cited 1984 Aug 08];81(32-33):2829-30
LITFL Related Links
- Biographical Medical Eponyms – A-Z of eponymous medical pioneers
- Eponymictionary – Searchable Eponymictionary Database
- Medical Eponyms – A-Z of signs, syndromes, diseases and classifications
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- Cardiac Eponyms – Eponymous cardiological collection