A history of Colombian neurosurgery: events, persons, and outcomes that have shaped the specialty in the country

Enrique Osorio Fonseca, Luis C. Cadavid, Jorge Cespedes, John Vargas, Matthew Grady, Fernando Gonzalez, Miguel Berbeo, Edgar G. Ordóñez-Mora, Edgar G. Ordóñez-Rubiano, Jorge E. Alvernia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The history of Colombian neurosurgery is a collective legacy of neurosurgeon-scientists, scholars, teachers, innovators, and researchers. Anchored in the country’s foundational values of self-determination and adaptability, these pioneers emerged from the Spanish colonial medical tradition and forged surgical alliances abroad. From the time of Colombian independence until the end of World War I, exchanges with the French medical tradition produced an emphasis on anatomical and systematic approaches to the emerging field of neurosurgery. The onset of American neurosurgical expertise in the 1930s led to a new period of exchange, wherein technological innovations were added to the Colombian neurosurgical repertoire. This diversity of influences culminated in the 1950s with the establishment of Colombia’s first in-country neurosurgery residency program. A select group of avant-garde neurosurgeons from this period expanded the domestic opportunities for patients and practitioners alike. Today, the system counts 10 recognized neurosurgery residency programs and over 500 neurosurgeons within Colombia. Although the successes of specific individuals and innovations were considered, the primary purpose of this historical survey was to glean relevant lessons from the past that can inform present challenges, inspire new opportunities, and identify professional and societal goals for the future of neurosurgical practice and specialization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-874
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Colombia
  • history
  • legacy
  • neurosurgeons
  • neurosurgery
  • specialty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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