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Br J Neurosurg. 2004 Feb;18(1):8-18.

Concepts of neurosurgical management of chronic subdural haematoma: historical perspectives.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany. ralf.weigel@nch.ma.uni-heidelberg.de

Abstract

The history of chronic subdural haematoma (CSH), spanning from its possibly earliest beginnings throughout the centuries until the early 1980s, was investigated within the context of four different epochs. In the 'era of uncertainty', successful trephination, the modem method of choice for the treatment of CSH, was developed by neolithic men. Various historical sources indicate that patients with CSH might have undergone surgery at that time. CSH might have been one of the ailments that had spectacular courses of salvation after trephination. The entity of CSH was first described in the 'era of pioneers' in the seventeenth century by Johann Jacob Wepfer. The misconception of 'pachymeningitis hemorrhagica interna' was introduced by Rudolf Virchow in 1857. By the end of the nineteenth century it became more widely accepted that trauma was a possible cause of CSH. Successful neurosurgical treatment of CSH was first reported by Hulke in 1883. Putnam and Cushing, in 1925, focused on surgery as the treatment of choice for CSH. In the 'era of diagnostic refinement', the introduction of pneumencephalography and angiography allowed the diagnosis of CSH much earlier. Subsequently, the typical signs and symptoms of patients suffering from CSH changed from apathy and coma to headaches and discrete focal neurological symptoms. In the 'era of surgical routine', neurosurgical approaches became smaller and less invasive. Removal of the haematoma was identified as the primary goal of surgery. The use of closed system drainage markedly improved reexpansion of the brain after surgery. Burr hole craniostomy and twist drill craniostomy became the surgical treatment of first choice because of their low morbidity and mortality. There is growing evidence, however, that the neurosurgical learning curve has reached a plateau.

PMID:
15040710
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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