History of the Peripheral and Cranial Nerves

James Tait Goodrich, Michel Kliot

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews developments in the practice of treating injuries and tumors of the peripheral and cranial nerves. Starting with the Edwin Smith Papyrus, we explore the treatment of nerve damage from antiquity to the mid-twentieth century. Up until the post-Renaissance era, distinguishing a nerve from a tendon or ligament was not easily done, and the concept of repairing an injured or severed nerve only came into fashion in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Although attempts were made to remove tumors and perform surgical repairs of the nerves, the outcomes were often not favorable, and in many cases, the surgeries left patients with even more painful outcomes. In this chapter we discuss the surgical concepts surrounding various historical nervous system repairs, highlighting the techniques that succeeded and failed. We also introduce key personalities in the field and their contributions, including a number of historical illustrations, many of which may be new to students of this subject.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHistory, Embryology, Anatomy, Imaging, and Diagnostics
PublisherElsevier Ltd.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780124104471
ISBN (Print)9780124103900
StatePublished - Apr 23 2015


  • Causalgia
  • History of peripheral nerve injuries
  • History of peripheral nerve surgery
  • History of surgery
  • Peripheral nerve tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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