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History of Neurosurgery

This episode we cover a brief overview of the history of neurosurgery, from ancient trephination through the contributions of Harvey Cushing in establishing the modern field.

How far back were people doing surgery on the head? What was holding us back from doing real brain surgeries, and why did it not flourish until this century? Why was Harvey Cushing the perfect person to be the “father” of modern neurosurgery?

References Used:

Really good book (and not too long) going over the development of neurosurgery through time.

Fascinating book with lots of detail covering the history of all aspects of neurosurgery. Goes into a lot of depth for each topic and technique. Also includes very nice pictures.

This entire issue is full of interesting articles on the history of perioperative care, including hemostasis, hyperosmolar agents. I also loved the article on the development of the frontotemporal craniotomy.

Neurosurgical Focus:
Volume 36 (2014): Issue 4 (Apr 2014): History of Craniotomy, Cranioplasty, and Perioperative Care

Another great issue of Neurosurgical Focus on history. This one also includes a couple articles on the history of infection.

Neurosurgical Focus:
Volume 18: Issue 4 (Apr 2005): History of Brain Tumor Surgery

Very nice overview of the history of neurosurgery, from ancient times through the modern era.

Liu, C., Apuzzo, M. (2003). The Genesis of Neurosurgery and the Evolution of the Neurosurgical Operative Environment: Part I—Prehistory to 2003 Neurosurgery 52(1), 3. https://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00006123-200301000-00001

History of William Bovie, and the development of his electrosurgical device.

O’Connor, J., Bloom, D. (1996). William T. Bovie and electrosurgery Surgery 119(4), 390-396. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0039-6060(96)80137-1

Description of the first brain tumor operation, performed in 1884.

Kirkpatrick, D. (1984). The first primary brain-tumor operation Journal of Neurosurgery 61(5), 809-813. https://dx.doi.org/10.3171/jns.1984.61.5.0809

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