Neurosurgery (неврохірургія; nevrokhirurhiia). That branch of medicine which deals with the surgical treatment of the nervous system, including brain surgery. As an independent branch of medicine related to psychiatry and neurology, neurosurgery emerged only at the beginning of the 20th century.

In Ukraine in the 1890s and early 1900s, several surgeons made progress in neurosurgery: Kyrylo Sapiezhko and B. Kozlovsky established surgical methods to alleviate internal brain-swelling, Oleksander Shymanovsky worked on surgical techniques, and P. Volkovych, O. Tykhonovych, O. Rava, and others developed methods for the surgical treatment of trauma and prenatal nervous system disorders. Pioneering work in neurosurgery was done in Russia by Nikolai Burdenko, who was of Ukrainian descent.

The first centers of neurosurgery in Ukraine were established at clinics of the Scientific Research Institute of Psychoneurology in Kharkiv (1931, with Z. Heimanovych) and in Kyiv (1935, with P. Babytsky). A neurosurgical clinic headed by Vladimir Shamov was established in 1935 at the Kharkiv Medical Institute. Oleksii Krymov and Ivan Ishchenko did research in Kyiv, and F. Roze worked in Kharkiv. In 1950 the neurosurgical clinic at the Psychoneurology Institute in Kyiv was reorganized as the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Neurosurgery under the directorship of Aleksandr Arutiunov, the founder of the school of neurosurgeons in Ukraine. Since the mid 1980s there have been neurosurgical sections in all oblast-level hospitals and neurotrauma centers in the larger cities. In the 1990s the organization of teaching, training, clinical work, research, and accreditation was headed by the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Neurosurgery and carried out by the neurology departments of the medical education institutes for the upgrading of physicians in Kyiv, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, and Kharkiv. The Kyiv Institute for the Upgrading of Physicians was particularly strong in this field. The journal Neirokhirurgiia was published in Russian in Kyiv. Neurosurgery in Ukraine was hampered at that time by the chronic shortage of modern equipment and drugs, as well as by the poor hygienic conditions that existed in medical institutions throughout the former USSR.

Paul Dzul

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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