Récamier was born at Rochefort-en-Bugey, on November 6, 1774. He came from a well-educated, important local family. He studied medicine at the Belley Hospital and then at Bourg, whereupon he was called for military service.
In 1797 he went to Paris, and in 1806, at the age of thirty-three, he became chief physician at the Hotel-Dieu.
He became interested in diseases of women and is considered a pioneer in gynecological surgery, inventing the cylindrical vaginal speculum and the bivalve speculum. His interest in uterine cancer led him to perform the first culpohysterectomy in 1829. He introduced the curette in the treatment of endometritis and incised pelvic abscesses through the posteriorcul de sac. He also introduced the method of treating anal fissure by forcible dilatation.
Récamier was named as one of the original members of the Academie de Medicine when it was founded in 1820, later being appointed Professor in the Faculty of Medicine. In 1826 he succeeded Laennec to the Chair at the College of France.
He died June 28, 1852 of apoplexy.
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