The surgery has been delayed for two hours because the surgeon is late, and the OR managers are threatening to cancel it, because they won’t have time later. I am in the library, trying to write something about the differential diagnosis of lipomas. Since no book that I can find addresses this subject, apparently on the assumption that everyone already knows it, or that there is no differential, I’m not getting far.

Thus, we come across Obstetric and Gynecologic Milestones Illustrated, by Harold Speert.

The fallopian tubes were first identified by Gabriele Falloppio, Italian, 1523-1562. He was a pupil of Vesalius, and after his death three volumes of Anatomic Observations were published, either from his writings, or from students’ notes of his lectures. Among other discoveries, he described the anatomy of the inner ear, as well as the “skeletal system of the fetus.” (Does that mean earlier students thought the fetus didn’t have bones?) The book excerpts his description of the fallopian tubes, which is almost poetical: “That slender and narrow seminal duct rises, fibrous and pale, from the horns of the uterus itself; becomes, when it has gone a little bit away, appreciably broader, and curls like a branch until it comes near the end, then losing the horn-like curl, and becomes [sic] very broad, has a distinct extremity which appears fibrous and fleshy through its red color, and its end is torn and ragged like the fringe of well-worn garments. . .” Isn’t that a much prettier and better description than the modern drone, “the fallopian tube originates from the horns of the uterus, where it has its narrowest part, and widens out into the ampulla and fimbriae.” Fallopio’s observations were significant because previous investigators had thought the tubes were purely suspensry in function. He called them the “uteri tuba,” or uterine horns, but they quickly became known as the fallopian tubes.