Benjamin Alcock (1801–?) and his canal


Department of Anatomical Sciences, St. George's University, School of Medicine, Grenada. E-mail:


Benjamin Alcock (1801–?) was a prominent anatomist from Ireland who is remembered most for his description of the pudendal canal. He was privileged to train under the great Irish anatomist, Abraham Colles. Following his training and several early teaching engagements, he was appointed as the first Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Queen's College, Cork. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. After several years of teaching at Queen's College, Alcock was forced to resign after a dispute over the Anatomy Act of 1832, during which he conveyed his disapproval of participation in the procurement of corpses for the school. Several years after his resignation, he left for the United States and removed himself from the view of the profession. His anatomical contributions were published in The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology. The description he gave of the sheath enclosing the pudendal nerve and internal pudendal vessels is his most famous contribution to the literature. He is remembered eponymously for Alcock's canal. This article's intent is to clearly and concisely depict the life and contribution of Benjamin Alcock. Clin. Anat. 26:662–666, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.