A millennium review of skull base surgery
Keywords Neurosurgical history
History of medicine
Skull base surgery
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Skull base surgery is a recent development in our history, in as much as most of the surgical techniques involved have been described within the last century. To provide an historical prospective the author reviews the development of this specialty, arbitrarily dating its beginning some five centuries ago with the work of Leonardo da Vinci. By picking this period we include the origin of scientific anatomy and personages interested in developing new ideas and concepts who were able to leave the stagnant period of the Middle Ages behind. In 1900 surgeons worked alone, with the concept of a skull base ”team” not yet existing. Endotracheal intubation and controlled respiration was just being introduced. Intraoperative monitoring of blood pressure, pulse rate and respiration was not yet known. Harvey Cushing was to introduce this concept in the first decade of the last century. This survey traces the origins of modern skull base surgery from its antecedents in the Renaissance to the beginning of this century. A paper of this length can only provide a sampling of themes and personalities; nevertheless, it will give the reader an impressive overview of how far we have come and some ideas of what the future holds.
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