Skip to main content

Felix Guyon

1831 - 1920

All the urologists of the world were his pupils

Jean Casimir Félix Guyon (1831 – 1920) was born in Saint-Denis on the East African island of Reunion, a French overseas départment east of Madagascar, on 21 July 1831.

Images of Guyon through the years

These images are taken from the archive of Félix Potin, portrait photographer (click an individual image for full-screen display).

Read more about Potin & view a selection of his photos on Getty images

He moved to France with his family at the age of three, first to Cherbourg, then to Nantes. He studied medicine at the University of Paris, working initially in Nantes then in Paris where he was an intern in 1854 and a prosector in 1858. In 1858, he obtained his doctorate (for a dissertation on the uterus).

He then went on to become Médecin des Hôpitaux (Consultant) in 1864. Thirteen years later, he was appointed Professor of Surgical Pathology and, a further 13 years later, Professor of Genitourinary Surgery at the University of Paris.

On 9 July 1867, Guyon succeeded Jean Civiale (1792-1867) at the Necker Hospital in Paris. In 1824, Civiale, the man who introduced lithotrity, had specifically allotted beds purely for urology patients at the Necker, creating, some would say, the first urology department. Guyon, by becoming the first Professor of Urology in the world and re-naming the department, Service d’Urologieconsolidated that and has become known as the father of modern urology.

Guyon’s urology clinics were attended by students and doctors from across the world, all learning about the ‘new’ speciality of urology. His trainees read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of famous urologists and included, Fernand Cathelin (1873-1945) who became chef de clinique under Guyon and later chief surgeon at the Hôpital d’Urologie, Joaquin Albarran (1860–1912) who succeeded Guyon as Chief of Urology at the Necker, Petre Herescu (1868-1915) who opened the first urology clinic in Romania, Félix Legueu (1863 – 1939), a subsequent SIU president, Ernest Desnos (1852–1925) and Alfred Pousson who were both instrumental in persuading Guyon to establish the SIU. The famous German urologist Jacob Israel (1846 – 1928) said of Guyon, “all the urologists of the world were his pupils”.

Guyon was made president of the Socitété de Chirurgie in 1878, of the Académie de Médecine in 1896, and of the Académie des Sciences in 1913.

In 1896, he founded the Association Française d’Urologie and, in 1907, along with urologists from around the world, helped to establish it - now known as the Societé Internationale d’Urologie (SIU). Guyon was its first president from 1907 - 1914. In 1911, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize, although he did not win it.

At the 18th Congress of the SIU in 1979, held once again in Paris, Guyon was honoured, by being portrayed on a French postage stamp.

View his entry in the Stamp Collection

This museum item is based on a Urology News article written with Dr Akshay Kishor

← Back to Famous Clinicians Room