About this event

  • Date and time Thu 2 Jul 2020 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm
  • Location Online
  • Organised by Clinical Neurosciences

This webinar will closely examine the British history of neurosurgery, from its humble beginnings of McEwan of Glasgow operating on a dural lesion in 1879 to 21st century technical advancements and super specialisation.

Hold-on tight while we discover how neurosurgery evolved in the UK over 150 years in just 1 hour.

A brief history of neurosurgery 

Modern, informed, scientific ' brain surgery' started in Great Britain, before any other country, when McEwan of Glasgow operated on a dural lesion in 1879, using anaesthesia, antisepsis and the new science of brain localisation.

Within Six years the first appointment to perform brain surgery was made when the great surgeon scientist, Sir Victor Horsley joined the staff at the National Hospital in Queen Square. His teaching heavily influenced a generation of surgeons who did occasional 'brain surgery' before WWI, but it was in the interwar years that three surgeons, trained by the great Bostonian neurosurgeon, Harvey Cushing, set up their neurosurgical units in Oxford, Manchester and Edinburgh.
The Society of British Neurological Surgeons was founded in 1926, but neurosurgical activity continued to be an occasional activity until WWII when the Mobile Neurosurgical units of the Army and Airforce trained a whole cadre of young men, who, post war, brought their skills to civilian life, filling positions in the civilian Emergency Units set up during wartime.
Formal training started in the 1950's but surgery remained fairly crude and unsophisticated until scientific developments of the 1960's and '70's, when unit numbers and consultant staff started to increase. These changes will be discussed as well as further technical advances leading to the development of super specialisation, along with more formalised training mandated by government decree, to the point that the specialty now fills, two decades into the 21st century.
The Clinical Neurosciences Section is offering this webinar series to students and trainees at a reduced rate, to support ongoing training and development during this time.

Join in the conversation online using #RSMLive
Follow us on Twitter: @RoySocMed


This meeting is a part of the RSM Clinical Neurosciences Section webinar series; Current and historical perspectives, that will be broadcast weekly on Thursday evenings from 6:00pm. The series will explore a variety of  neurological and neurosurgical themes. If you would like to find out more about the series, please visit the Clinical Neurosciences Section homepage.

Key speakers

Micheal Powell

Michael Powell

Former Consultant Neurosurgeon at the National Hospital and University College London Hospitals (1985 - 2013)

Speaker's biography

A past RSM Clinical Neurosciences Section President, Michael specialised in pituitary surgery and was involved in formal trading in the Neurosurgical SAC for over a decade, and which he chaired from 2008 to 2011. He trained over two thirds of British pituitary surgeons and was runner up in the Silver Scalpel Award, given to the best surgical trainer across all disciplines. A man with many hobbies, he came second in the Observer Cook of the Year Award in 1983.



Disclaimer: All views expressed in this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM.

Special rates for difficult times 
The RSM wishes to offer healthcare professionals continued learning opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. The RSM’s COVID-19 online events are available free of charge, while there will be small charges to register for other online education. These fees will enable the RSM to continue its programme of activities and will apply during the course of the pandemic. 

Registration for this webinar will close 2 hours prior to the start time. You will receive the webinar link 2 hours before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted.

All webinars will be available for registered delegates 30 days after on Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours after the webinar takes place. 

This webinar will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be  distributed  in future on various internet channels. 

Man searching computer

Join the RSM and get free access to digital learning resources

The RSM has an extensive digital learning and online e-resources platform. As a member you'll enjoy free access to a wealth of online  resources, including 5,000 subscription and open access e-journals, 2,000 e-books and 5 key medical databases, to support your clinical decision-making and research.

Become a member