Benjamin "Benny" Felson (1913-1988) was a renowned Cincinnati chest radiologist who coined or popularised several of the most commonly-used terms in the everyday parlance of the English-speaking radiology community.
Benjamin Felson was born in Newport, Kentucky on 21st October 1913 but soon after his family moved to Cincinnati where he attended school and the University of Cincinnati, earning his MD in 1935. He then went on to work at the Cincinnati General Hospital first as an intern and then as a radiology resident (at the time a three year course), followed by a one year fellowship in cancer therapy at the Indianapolis City Hospital 1. His brother, Henry Felson, was also a radiologist.
He joined the army in 1942 and from 1943-1945 he was Chief of Radiology of the 28th General Hospital in Europe.
Terms and signs coined and popularised include:
- Aunt Minnie (popularised the term)
- cervicothoracic sign
- congenital pulmonary venolobar syndrome
- extrapleural sign
- hilum convergence sign
- hilum overlay sign
- silhouette sign (popularised the sign)
- thoraco-abdominal sign
Returning home, after World War II, to the Cincinnati General Hospital as an assistant professor, becoming Professor and Director of the radiology department in 1951, a position he held until 1973, after which time, he remained a Professor of radiology. He became Professor Emeritus in 1983, until his death from a myocardial infarction on October 22nd 1988 1,4.
He was always renowned for his excellent teaching and his superlative interpretive skills at the light box.
He was the author of 5 books, over 150 papers and founded the journal Seminars in Roentgenology. His lectures and writings were notable for their humour and his literary pursuits resulted in the publication of a collection of essays on Humour in Medicine.
Benjamin Felson retains significant name recognition amongst the radiology fraternity despite his death 30 years ago. This is almost certainly because of the perpetual popularity of signs such as Aunt Minnie and the silhouette sign, which he popularised, although did not coin.
The Benjamin Felson Chair in Radiology was established in 1987 by his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati 4.
- 1. Jacobson HG. In memoriam Benjamin Felson, 1913-1988. Radiology. 1989;170 (3 Pt 1): 897-8. Pubmed citation
- 2. Felson B. Humour in medicine and other topics. Find it at Amazon.com
- 3. George PP, Irodi A, Nidugala Keshava S et-al. 'Felson Signs' revisited. J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2014;58 (1): 64-74. doi:10.1111/1754-9485.12031 - Pubmed citation
- 4. Steiner RE. Obituary BEN FELSON. Clinical Radiology (1989), 411, 329.
History of radiology
- key milestones
- 1895: Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen detects x-rays
- 1896: Antoine Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity
- 1896: Sydney Rowland founds the first radiology journal, Archives of Clinical Skiagraphy
- 1896: Thomas Alva Edison invents the first commercially-available fluoroscope
- 1913: Albert Salomon commences research leading to mammography
- 1927: Egas Moniz develops cerebral angiography
- 1934: Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie artificially produce radioisotopes
- 1936: John Lawrence uses phosphorus-32 to treat leukaemia
- 1950s: David Edmund Kuhl invents Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
- 1953: Sven-Ivar Seldinger develops his famous eponymous technique
- 1957: Ian Donald invents ultrasound
- 1964: Charles Dotter introduces image-guided intervention
- 1965: Benjamin Felson publishes Felson's Principles of Chest Roentgenology
- 1972: Godfrey Hounsfield introduces the CT scanner (co-developed with Allan M Cormack)
- 1977: Raymond Vahan Damadian builds the first commercial MRI scanner
- 2005: Frank Gaillard creates Radiopaedia.org :)
- key figures in the history of radiology
- history of modalities
- plain radiography
- nuclear medicine
- interventional radiology
- history of radiology journals
- history of radiology organisations
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR)
- United Kingdom
- British Institute of Radiology (BIR)
- Royal College of Radiologists (RCR)
- School and College of Radiographers (SCoR)
- United States
- American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS)
- Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
- American College of Radiology (ACR)
- European Society of Radiology (ESR)