Dupuytren, Guillaume: (1777-1835) The leading French surgeon of the early part of the 19th century. Dupuytren reported the condition in 1832 that now bears his name: Dupuytren contracture. He was not the first to describe the condition but he was the first to recognize that this form of finger contracture was due to scarring of the fascia tissue in the palm.
Born to a poor lawyer near Limoges in central France, Dupuytren had an unusual childhood. He was kidnapped at age 4 by a wealthy lady but later restored to his family, only to be taken away again at age 12, this time by a cavalry officer who paid for his education in Paris. Despite great hardship, he attended medical school and, in time, became a surgeon. At the height of his career Dupuytren's saw 10,000 patients a year, became wealthy, was surgeon to the kings of France (Louis XVIII and Charles X) and was made a baron. Reportedly a surgeon of unbridled ambition and cynical disregard for his colleagues and known as the "Napoleon" of surgery.
Aside from Dupuytren contracture, the name of Dupuytren was associated with a number of other phenomena in medicine, including: Dupuytren disease of the foot (plantar fibromatosis, the growth of nodules in the plantar fascia of the foot), Dupuytren fascia (the thick central portion of the fascia ensheathing the hand, also called the palmar aponeurosis), and Dupuytren sign (up and down movement of the head of the femur upon pulling on the leg, a sign of congenital dislocation of the hip). There was also Dupuytren amputation, Dupuytren canal, Dupuytren fracture, Dupuytren hydrocele, Dupuytren suture, and Dupuytren tourniquet.