Percivall Pott: an 18th century neurosurgeon.

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This paper examines neurosurgery in the 18th century and suggests that the origins of the specialty can be recognized at the time when surgeons began to use the neurological status of the patient as a guide for surgical intervention. Percivall Pott (1714-1788) was one of the leading surgeons in London in the 18th century. He is remembered through eponyms of Pott's puffy tumor, Pott's fracture, and Pott's disease. A review of his writings and those of his contemporaries indicates that these surgeons were aware of the importance of changes in level of consciousness after head injury. The recognition and significance of the lucid interval was described and understood as a neurosurgical sign in the 18th century. Because of Pott's pre-eminence in the surgery of his time through his writings and lectures, he should be considered one of the founders of neurosurgery as a separate surgical discipline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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