Desault was one of the first professors at the École Pratique de Chirurgie, Paris. He made many suggestions regarding the treatment of fractures and dislocations and is one of the founders of modern vascular surgery. In Remarques et observations sur l’opération de l’anévrisme (Vol. 2, 553-80) he described his technique of tying blood vessels for the treatment of aneurism. Desault was Xavier Bichat’s teacher, and Bichat edited the first edition of this set.
In the second edition (3 vols., 1801-3) volume 3, which concerns urological diseases, was edited by P. J. Roux. With Chopart, Desault founded urological surgery, and was one of the first to have a clear understanding of urological disease. Vol. 1 was translated into English as A Treatise on Fractures, luxations and other affections of the bones, Philadelphia, 1805. The translation of vols. 2 & 3 was entitled The Surgical Works, 2 vols., Philadelphia, 1814. Desault edited the first journal specifically on surgery: Journal de chirurgie, 4 vols., 1791-92.