To better understand Walter Dandy’s intentions and the historical context of his work on hemispherectomy, the authors reviewed his original 1928 publication. Gliomas were considered incurable at that time. Presuming that the loss of motor function denoted a lack of useful tissue in that hemisphere, he pioneered radical removal of the involved cerebral hemisphere. Of the 5 patients operated on by Dandy, 1 died within 48 hours of hemorrhage because of a displaced vascular clip; 1 died of pneumonia in 2 weeks; 2 died of tumor recurrence, at 3 months and 3.5 years, respectively; and a fifth patient was lost to follow-up beyond the 2nd postoperative week.
The authors queried the Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Scopus. A total of 88 papers fulfilled inclusion criteria. Half of these papers (44/88) were published after 2012. Only 11% of papers (10/88) quoted Dandy’s paper accurately; half of them were published before 1997. Most publications (76% [67/88]) quoted Dandy incorrectly, all of them from 1997 and later. In the remaining 11 papers (13%), the accuracy of the quotes was unclear. The authors found a trend toward more accurate citation in earlier papers.
Critically reviewing Dandy’s report, with an understanding of the historical context, allows a better understanding of his intentions and the value of his contribution.