Harvey Cushing's early experience with the surgical treatment of head trauma

Michael Kinsman, Courtney Pendleton, Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The evolution of techniques to manage patients with head injuries has served as the basis for the treatment of other neurosurgical disorders, including brain tumors, intracranial infections, and cerebrovascular disease. In the nineteenth century, advances in anesthesia, asepsis, and cerebral localization slowly took hold and created the groundwork for modern neurosurgery. To better understand the advances in the treatment of brain injuries in the late 1800s and early 1900s, we examine relevant historical literature and, through the courtesy of the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives, we review Dr. Harvey Cushing's patient records (1898-1909) in the Johns Hopkins Hospital surgical archives. The original case histories of 10 patients (6 in detail) who suffered head injuries and underwent treatment by Cushing illustrate some of Cushing's early attempts at intracranial surgery. We also examine the influences on Cushing as he developed into a leader in the new era of modern neurosurgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-115
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of the History of the Neurosciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Harvey Cushing
  • brain injuries
  • craniocerebral trauma
  • head injuries
  • history of medicine
  • neurosurgical procedures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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