Onomatology of the Term Patela: From Ancient Greece to America

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Jorge Eduardo Duque Parra; John Barco Ríos & Carlos Eduardo Castaño Molina


The purpose of this study was to conduct a historical analysis of the terms “patella" and "rotula" according to its onomatology to name the sesamoid bone in the anterior region of the knee and to determine whether it corresponds to international anatomical terminology use. For the study, 46 well-conditioned sesamoid bones were selected. They were measured by using a digital gauge to determine their geometric shape and then compare these with the given meanings throughout history. Results show that the dimensions obtained from these sesamoid bones do not correspond to a thumbwheel shape (rotula), instead they correspond to a dished shape (patella). This coincides with the term used in the current Terminologia Anatomica. The patella term to name the sesamoid bone in the anterior region of the knee is the most appropriate and accepted term in international anatomical terminology.

KEY WORDS: History; Patella; Terminology.

How to cite this article

DUQUE, P. J. E.; BARCO, R. J. & CASTAÑO, M. C. E. Onomatology of the term patela: From ancient Greece to America. Int. J. Morphol., 36(2):758-761, 2018.