A meningioma and its consequences for American history and the rise of neurosurgery: Historical vignette

Shaheryar F. Ansari, Nicholas G. Gianaris, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The case of General Leonard Wood is notable both for its contribution to the field of neurosurgery and its historical significance. As one of Harvey Cushing's first successful brain tumor operations in 1910, Wood's surgery was part of the case series that culminated in Cushing's monograph Meningioma. This case was important to the rise of Cushing's career and his recognition as a member of the next generation of neurosurgeons who did not settle for mere bony decompression to taper intracranial tension but who dared to pursue intradural resections - operations that had been performed by surgeons for decades but were frowned upon because of the attendant risks. Cushing's operation to remove a recurrent brain tumor ended Wood's life in 1927. The authors discuss the effects the tumor may have had on Wood's life and career, explore an alternate explanation for the cause of Wood's death, and provide a brief account of the life of General Wood, highlighting events in his military and administrative career juxtaposed against the progression of his illness. Furthermore, the case history of the General is reviewed, using information drawn from the original patient notes and recently discovered images from the Cushing Brain Tumor Registry that elucidate more details about General Wood's story, from the injury that caused his first tumor to his final surgery, leading to his demise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1067-1071
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Brain tumor
  • General Leonard Wood
  • Harvey Cushing
  • History

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery

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