Josias Weitbrecht, the founder of syndesmology, and the history of the retinacula of Weitbrecht

  • Jan Bartoníček
  • Ondřej Naňka


Syndesmologia siue historia ligamentorum corporis humani”, published in 1742 by a German anatomist Josias Weitbrecht (1702–1747), who for a long time lived and worked in St. Petersburg, is the first comprehensive textbook of syndesmology. The accuracy and quality of the accompanying illustrations are fascinating, even after almost 300 years. Weitbrecht was also the first to describe the synovial folds of the hip joint, later named after him as the retinacula of Weitbrecht. This eponym appeared in the first half of the nineteenth century in the studies of femoral neck fractures published in the UK. In the study of syndesmology, Weitbrecht was followed by a number of outstanding authors of that time, such as Meckel, Barkow, Arnold, Henle, Humphry and Fick.


Weitbrecht Syndesmology Arthrology Retinacula of Weitbrecht Synovial folds of the hip 



The authors wish to thank Chris Colton, Prof, MD, FRCS and Ludmila Bébarová, PhD, for their assistance in the preparation of the manuscript.

Author contributions

JB: project development, manuscript writing/editing. ON: data collection, manuscript writing/editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics, First Faculty of MedicineCharles University and Central Military HospitalPrague 6Czech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Anatomy, First Faculty of MedicineCharles UniversityPrague 2Czech Republic

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