Biography of Salvador Gil Vernet, eminent urologist anatomist (1892-1987)


Pelviperineology 2018;37(3):93-96

Salvador Gil Vernet 1892-1987 was a pioneering surgeon scientist who made many innovations and surgeries. His approach was quite revolutionary at the time. He stated that it was not sufficient to describe an anatomical structure. He said that an answer was required to the question of “what is it for”. “Precise, almost mathematical knowledge of anatomy is a highly fertile source of surgical applications, suggesting new techniques and helping perfect and simplify existing surgical methods, making them less mutilating and more benign and, in short, raising surgery to the rank of true science.” His innovations were many and varied. He invented a new sacral epidural anesthesia technique to be applied in prostatic surgery. In 1919, in cooperation with Dr. F. Gallart, he described, for the first time in the human being, the lower mesenteric ganglion. In 1926 he published “El Sistema Nervioso Órgano-vegetativo. Contribución a su estudio anatómico y embriológico” where he tried to unravel how anastomoses are formed between the various ganglionic areas during embryonic development. At the end of the 1920s, Gil Vernet’s research was centered on the study of the topographic anatomy of the male pelvis and perineum, with a specific focus on the bladder, the neural pelvic plexus and the prostate. In 1944 in the volume “Cáncer de Próstata”, which is considered the most outstanding Spanish contribution to studies in urology, highlights the importance of diet, race and, genetics in the development of prostate cancer and showing that malignant neoplasms usually originates in the prostate gland itself and not in areas of benign prostate hyperplasia. One important contribution was the discovery of the “precervical arc of Gil Vernet” which many years later provided the key to the mechanism of how the female urethra is closed by the 3 directional forces discovered by Petros & Ulmsten in their pioneering work on the midurethral sling.

Keywords: Historical,Anatomy,Urology