Stereotactic neurosurgery in the United Kingdom: the hundred years from Horsley to Hariz

Neurosurgery. 2008 Sep;63(3):594-606; discussion 606-7. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000316854.29571.40.


The history of stereotactic neurosurgery in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is reviewed. Horsley and Clarke's primate stereotaxy at the turn of the 20th century and events surrounding it are described, including Mussen's development of a human version of the apparatus. Stereotactic surgery after the Second World War is reviewed, with an emphasis on the pioneering work of Gillingham, Hitchcock, Knight, and Watkins and the contributions from Bennett, Gleave, Hughes, Johnson, McKissock, McCaul, and Dutton after the influences of Dott, Cairns, and Jefferson. Forster's introduction of gamma knife radiosurgery is summarized, as is the application of computed tomography by Hounsfield and Ambrose. Contemporary contributions to the present day from Bartlett, Richardson, Miles, Thomas, Gill, Aziz, Hariz, and others are summarized. The current status of British stereotactic neurosurgery is discussed.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Portrait
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgery / history*
  • Neurosurgery / instrumentation*
  • Neurosurgery / methods
  • Stereotaxic Techniques / history*
  • Stereotaxic Techniques / instrumentation*
  • United Kingdom