The history of neurological surgery at Northwestern University

Herbert H. Engelhard, John Grant, Ivan S. Ciric, Nicholas C. Wetzel, H. Hunt Batjer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


THE RESIDENCY PROGRAM in neurological surgery at Northwestern University was founded in 1924 by Loyal Davis and was formally accredited by the American Board of Neurological Surgery in 1946. Allen Kanavel, mentor to Davis, was one of the original members of the Society of Neurological Surgeons. Five individuals have served as chief of neurosurgery at Northwestern: Davis, Paul Bucy, Anthony Raimondi, Albert Butler, and H. Hunt Batjer. Davis was the first surgeon west of the Appalachians to limit his work to neurosurgery. Between 1954 and 1963, there were two independent neurosurgery residency programs at Northwestern, one headed by Davis and the other by Bucy. A master surgeon and superb teacher, Bucy trained more than 65 residents and became one of the greatest authors and leaders in the field of neurosurgery. Neurosurgical training at Northwestern has traditionally emphasized excellence of patient care, strong resident and student teaching, and basic science research. Through the years, a major strength of the program has been its clinical volume and diversity. Four hospitals have played major roles in the program: Northwestern Memorial Hospital (created by the merger of Chicago Wesley Memorial Hospital and Passavant Memorial Hospital), Children's Memorial Hospital, Evanston Hospital, and the Veterans Administration Lakeside Hospital. This article traces the development of neurological surgery at Northwestern, with an emphasis on its historical background and the contributions of Kanavel, Davis, and Bucy. The present philosophy and structure of the training program and the program's future under the direction of Batjer are also described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)914-925
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1998


  • Bucy, Paul
  • Children's Memorial Hospital
  • Davis,loyal
  • Evanston Hospital
  • History of neurosurgery
  • Kanavel, Allen
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital
  • Raimondi, Anthony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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