The Law of Laplace and its relevance to contemporary medicine and rehabilitation

Jeffrey R. Basford

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To show that the Law of Laplace is not only a historical curiosity but also remains relevant to our daily teaching and clinical activities. Data Sources: Comprehensive MEDLINE (1960-2000) and CINAHL (1982-2000) computer literature searches performed by using key words such as Law of Laplace, Laplace, and Laplace relationship. Additional references were obtained from the bibliographies of the selected articles. Supplementary searches were also made by using various Internet search engines. Study Selection: Primary references were used whenever possible. Data Extraction: A single reviewer assessed all references and extracted information relevant to the Law of Laplace. Data Synthesis: Although the Law of Laplace is attributed to Pierre Simon de Laplace, Laplace may not deserve the credit for the discovery. Nevertheless, the relationship (T [tension] α P [pressure] R [radius]) is easily derived and improves our understanding of the physiologic basis of many of our medical and rehabilitation practices. For example, the Law provides an insight into the mechanism of action of compression garments and lumbosacral orthoses, an understanding of the role of uterine muscle during delivery, and a reason why cesarean sections are made in the lower uterus. In addition, the Law explains many aspects of such diverse phenomena as penile erection, compartment syndromes, and peripheral edema. Perhaps most important, the Law explains the basis of many common medical practices that we use to promote bladder emptying, to control edema, and to plan surgery. Conclusion: The Law of Laplace explains the mechanism of a wide range of physiologic phenomena. Unfortunately, even though it was developed about 200 years ago, the insights it provides us are often underused. More consideration of its implications can improve our clinical practice, our teaching, and our enjoyment of medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1170
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume83
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Fingerprint

Edema
Teaching
Rehabilitation
Medicine
Penile Erection
Compartment Syndromes
Search Engine
Orthotic Devices
Exploratory Behavior
Clothing
Myometrium
Information Storage and Retrieval
Bibliography
MEDLINE
Cesarean Section
Internet
Uterus
Urinary Bladder
Pressure

Keywords

  • History
  • Laplace
  • Pressure
  • Rehabilitation
  • Tension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation

Cite this

The Law of Laplace and its relevance to contemporary medicine and rehabilitation. / Basford, Jeffrey R.

In: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 83, No. 8, 2002, p. 1165-1170.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

@article{ec3a96ed09414085b26bd5567126cbf5,
title = "The Law of Laplace and its relevance to contemporary medicine and rehabilitation",
abstract = "Objective: To show that the Law of Laplace is not only a historical curiosity but also remains relevant to our daily teaching and clinical activities. Data Sources: Comprehensive MEDLINE (1960-2000) and CINAHL (1982-2000) computer literature searches performed by using key words such as Law of Laplace, Laplace, and Laplace relationship. Additional references were obtained from the bibliographies of the selected articles. Supplementary searches were also made by using various Internet search engines. Study Selection: Primary references were used whenever possible. Data Extraction: A single reviewer assessed all references and extracted information relevant to the Law of Laplace. Data Synthesis: Although the Law of Laplace is attributed to Pierre Simon de Laplace, Laplace may not deserve the credit for the discovery. Nevertheless, the relationship (T [tension] α P [pressure] R [radius]) is easily derived and improves our understanding of the physiologic basis of many of our medical and rehabilitation practices. For example, the Law provides an insight into the mechanism of action of compression garments and lumbosacral orthoses, an understanding of the role of uterine muscle during delivery, and a reason why cesarean sections are made in the lower uterus. In addition, the Law explains many aspects of such diverse phenomena as penile erection, compartment syndromes, and peripheral edema. Perhaps most important, the Law explains the basis of many common medical practices that we use to promote bladder emptying, to control edema, and to plan surgery. Conclusion: The Law of Laplace explains the mechanism of a wide range of physiologic phenomena. Unfortunately, even though it was developed about 200 years ago, the insights it provides us are often underused. More consideration of its implications can improve our clinical practice, our teaching, and our enjoyment of medicine.",
keywords = "History, Laplace, Pressure, Rehabilitation, Tension",
author = "Basford, {Jeffrey R.}",
year = "2002",
doi = "10.1053/apmr.2002.33985",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "83",
pages = "1165--1170",
journal = "Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation",
issn = "0003-9993",
publisher = "W.B. Saunders Ltd",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Law of Laplace and its relevance to contemporary medicine and rehabilitation

AU - Basford, Jeffrey R.

PY - 2002

Y1 - 2002

N2 - Objective: To show that the Law of Laplace is not only a historical curiosity but also remains relevant to our daily teaching and clinical activities. Data Sources: Comprehensive MEDLINE (1960-2000) and CINAHL (1982-2000) computer literature searches performed by using key words such as Law of Laplace, Laplace, and Laplace relationship. Additional references were obtained from the bibliographies of the selected articles. Supplementary searches were also made by using various Internet search engines. Study Selection: Primary references were used whenever possible. Data Extraction: A single reviewer assessed all references and extracted information relevant to the Law of Laplace. Data Synthesis: Although the Law of Laplace is attributed to Pierre Simon de Laplace, Laplace may not deserve the credit for the discovery. Nevertheless, the relationship (T [tension] α P [pressure] R [radius]) is easily derived and improves our understanding of the physiologic basis of many of our medical and rehabilitation practices. For example, the Law provides an insight into the mechanism of action of compression garments and lumbosacral orthoses, an understanding of the role of uterine muscle during delivery, and a reason why cesarean sections are made in the lower uterus. In addition, the Law explains many aspects of such diverse phenomena as penile erection, compartment syndromes, and peripheral edema. Perhaps most important, the Law explains the basis of many common medical practices that we use to promote bladder emptying, to control edema, and to plan surgery. Conclusion: The Law of Laplace explains the mechanism of a wide range of physiologic phenomena. Unfortunately, even though it was developed about 200 years ago, the insights it provides us are often underused. More consideration of its implications can improve our clinical practice, our teaching, and our enjoyment of medicine.

AB - Objective: To show that the Law of Laplace is not only a historical curiosity but also remains relevant to our daily teaching and clinical activities. Data Sources: Comprehensive MEDLINE (1960-2000) and CINAHL (1982-2000) computer literature searches performed by using key words such as Law of Laplace, Laplace, and Laplace relationship. Additional references were obtained from the bibliographies of the selected articles. Supplementary searches were also made by using various Internet search engines. Study Selection: Primary references were used whenever possible. Data Extraction: A single reviewer assessed all references and extracted information relevant to the Law of Laplace. Data Synthesis: Although the Law of Laplace is attributed to Pierre Simon de Laplace, Laplace may not deserve the credit for the discovery. Nevertheless, the relationship (T [tension] α P [pressure] R [radius]) is easily derived and improves our understanding of the physiologic basis of many of our medical and rehabilitation practices. For example, the Law provides an insight into the mechanism of action of compression garments and lumbosacral orthoses, an understanding of the role of uterine muscle during delivery, and a reason why cesarean sections are made in the lower uterus. In addition, the Law explains many aspects of such diverse phenomena as penile erection, compartment syndromes, and peripheral edema. Perhaps most important, the Law explains the basis of many common medical practices that we use to promote bladder emptying, to control edema, and to plan surgery. Conclusion: The Law of Laplace explains the mechanism of a wide range of physiologic phenomena. Unfortunately, even though it was developed about 200 years ago, the insights it provides us are often underused. More consideration of its implications can improve our clinical practice, our teaching, and our enjoyment of medicine.

KW - History

KW - Laplace

KW - Pressure

KW - Rehabilitation

KW - Tension

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0036335220&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0036335220&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1053/apmr.2002.33985

DO - 10.1053/apmr.2002.33985

M3 - Review article

C2 - 12161841

AN - SCOPUS:0036335220

VL - 83

SP - 1165

EP - 1170

JO - Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

JF - Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

SN - 0003-9993

IS - 8

ER -