Footage of neurosurgery from 1933

The Wellcome Trust is putting its archive of medical films online which includes some fascinating footage of some 1933 neurosurgery to remove a tumour from the frontal lobe.

The film says the tumour is a tuberculoma. While we typically link tumours to cancer, the name also refers to other types of abnormal growths.

In this case, it’s an abnormal growth caused when tuberculosis (TB) reaches the brain and leads to an infected mass that can have a similar effect – damaging the cortex by taking up space where the brain should be.

Because TB can be treated effectively with antibiotics, tuberculomas are now very rare in the West, but they are still unfortunately quite common in parts of the developing world where access to medical care is limited.

The Wellcome archive footage is from a time where TB was much more common and shows how surgeons of the days would have removed the mass and how the patient is left after recovery.

Link to Wellcome archive footage of 1933 brain surgery.


  1. Mark(p.s.)
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    I wonder how much time it took using those tools of the day ( faster today?), and what an average brain surgeon of today would think of that 1933 operation.

  2. Posted July 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    well the footage was awful to watch especially for me who is not used to see such scene. . but thanks for the info anyway. .

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