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Neurosurgery. 2013 Oct;73(4):709-17; discussion 717-8. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000430299.02714.46.

History of the Department of Neurosurgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


The neurosurgical tradition at Jefferson Medical College began in the 19th century with Samuel Gross. In his textbook entitled A System of Surgery, Gross revealed his knowledge of the disorders of the nervous system at a time when innovations were practically inexistent. Gross' work paved the way for William Williams Keen, "America's first brain surgeon." In 1887, Keen became the first surgeon in the nation to successfully remove a primary brain tumor. In 1893, Keen operated secretly on President Grover Cleveland for removal of an intraoral sarcoma and later served as a consultant to Franklin Roosevelt after he contracted poliomyelitis. The neurosurgery division was established in 1943 by J. Rudolph Jaeger. It was Philip Gordy who created a distinct Department of Neurosurgery in 1969. Jewell L. Osterholm became chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery in 1974. Since 2004, Robert Rosenwasser has served as chairman, and the Department of Neurosurgery at Jefferson has grown to include 26 faculty members. The residency has expanded to include 3 residents per academic year since 2007.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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