Dr. Dwight Parkinson: a Canadian neurosurgical pioneer

Andrew Ajisebutu MD 1 , Marc R. Del Bigio MD, PhD, FRCPC 2 , Colin J. Kazina MD, PhD, FRCSC 1 , Michael West MD, PhD, FRCSC 1 and Demitre Serletis MD, PhD, FRCSC 1 , 3
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  • 1 Section of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, and
  • 2 Department of Pathology, University of Manitoba; and
  • 3 Manitoba Neurosurgery Laboratory, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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In 1950, Dwight Parkinson was the first qualified neurosurgeon to arrive in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He played a monumental role in developing one of the earliest neurosurgical training programs in Western Canada. Parkinson was a pioneering neurosurgeon who served as the first president of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society in 1965. He was the epitome of the skull base neurosurgeon, which was not recognized as a distinct discipline at that time. He contributed to its development through detailed neuroanatomical study of the lateral sellar compartment (housing the parasellar venous plexus, a term he emphasized as more accurate than “cavernous sinus”). Parkinson also made seminal contributions to the management of cerebrovascular disease and offered new insights on cerebral concussion. Parkinson’s dedication to clinical excellence and education laid a cornerstone for the development of neurosurgery and the neurosciences in Manitoba, making him a key figure in Canadian neurosurgery. Using published materials, online resources, hospital archives, and personal interviews, the authors conducted a systematic review of Parkinson’s formative years, his development of the Section of Neurosurgery at the University of Manitoba, his achievements, and his legacy. This updated biography captures the exploits of this remarkable, and at times strictly disciplinarian, neurosurgeon-anatomist.

ABBREVIATIONS AVM = arteriovenous malformation; CCF = carotid cavernous fistula; WGH = Winnipeg General Hospital; WNS = Western Neurosurgical Society.

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Contributor Notes

Correspondence Demitre Serletis: University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada. dserletis@hsc.mb.ca.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online September 27, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2019.6.JNS19262.

Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

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