Perthes' primary area of research involved radiological treatment and therapy. He pioneered the use of radiology for the treatment of warts, skin cancer and breast carcinomas. Today he is best known for a child illness named Perthes' disease, also known as Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome; which is a degenerative disease of the hip joint. Perthes took the first X-rays of a patient with this syndrome in 1898, however his findings weren't published until several years later. While in Tsingtao, he had the opportunity to perform radiological studies on the feet of Chinese women, which had been subjected to the traditional practice of being crushed and bound.
As a surgeon Perthes made several contributions, including a procedure of suction drainage for empyema, and the use of a pneumatic cuff for hemostasis during limb surgeries. Also, a test for evaluating the competence of deep femoral veins prior to varicose vein surgery is called the Perthes test (this test is sometimes referred to as the Delbet-Mocquot test, named after French physicians Pierre Delbet (1861-1957) and Pierre Mocquot 1879-1963). Perthes died of a stroke in 1927 in Arosa, Switzerland.
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