Send to

Choose Destination
Childs Nerv Syst. 2011 Jul;27(7):1145-8. doi: 10.1007/s00381-011-1444-7. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

Unique challenges faced by pediatric neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing in 1909 at Johns Hopkins: a choroid plexus tumor of the lateral ventricle mimicking a cerebellar lesion.

Author information

Department of Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.



At the turn of the twentieth century, diagnosis of pediatric intracranial lesions frequently relied exclusively on the subtle, nonspecific signs associated with these pathologies. In absence of detailed neuroimaging, erroneous diagnoses and misdirected operative explorations were common within pediatric populations.


Following institutional review board approval, and through the courtesy of the Alan Mason Chesney Archives, we reviewed the surgical files from the Johns Hopkins Hospital for the years 1896-1912. Harvey Cushing's neurosurgical cases were collected and further analyzed.


A 9-year-old boy presented with a year-long history of headaches and blindness. His neurological examination was remarkable for focal cranial nerve deficits and cerebellar signs. Cushing diagnosed a cerebellar tumor with hydrocephalus and performed two suboccipital explorations with negative results. The patient died prior to further operative intervention, and the postmortem examination revealed a large choroid plexus tumor within the left lateral ventricle.


Early neurosurgical diagnosis and operative planning was fraught with difficulties, and surgeons relied solely on history and physical examination for localization of intracranial lesions. Here we report a case of a choroid plexus tumor of the lateral ventricle, which was misdiagnosed by Cushing. This case serves to emphasize the unique challenges faced by pediatric neurosurgeons at the turn of the twentieth century, who relied solely on history and examination to localize intracranial lesions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center