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  • Tags: Barbara Watson

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Title

Photograph of Barbara Watson

Description

This photograph is of Barbara Watson, the first person to successfully survive a brain tumour removal operation in 1879.

This photograph is part of Macewen's surgical casebook in the archive collection.

Creator

Sir William Macewen

Date

c. 1879

Identifier

RCPSG 10/9/1

Description

This photograph is of Barbara Watson, the first person to successfully survive a brain tumour removal operation in 1879.

This photograph is part of Macewen's surgical casebook in the archive collection.

barbara watson_journal_1.jpg

Details

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Title

Private journal of William Macewen

Description

This journal records Macewen’s notes of surgical cases admitted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary between 1876 and 1879. The College archive contains nine volumes of Macewen’s cases at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, between 1876 and 1895.

Creator

Sir William Macewen

Date

c. 1876-1879

Identifier

RCPSG 10/9/1

Description

This journal records Macewen’s notes of surgical cases admitted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary between 1876 and 1879. The College archive contains nine volumes of Macewen’s cases at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, between 1876 and 1895.

barbara_watson.png

Details

Dublin Core

Title

Barbara Watson Model

Description

This 3D model is a representation of the first patient to survive the removal of a brain tumour, Barbara Watson. She was operated on by William Macewen in 1879 and survived the operation. This was the first successful brain tumour removal in history.

Description

This 3D model is a representation of the first patient to survive the removal of a brain tumour, Barbara Watson. She was operated on by William Macewen in 1879 and survived the operation. This was the first successful brain tumour removal in history.

tumour_new.png

Details

Dublin Core

Title

Animation on First Brain Tumour Removal

Description

In 1879, Barbara Watson came under the care of William Macewen, presenting with a large tumour over the left eye. Macewen tended to Miss Watson with his well-known skill and compassion, but little did he know that this case would become a world first in neurosurgery.

At this time, there were no methods of imaging the body non-invasively- Rontgen did not discover X-rays until 1895. Therefore, determining the dimensions of brain lesions relied on the practitioner's observations of the patient's symptoms alone. This would have required an in-depth knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the brain. Thankfully, Macewen was well-read on the current theories on the brain at that time. Miss Watson truly could not have asked for a better surgeon to help her.

Due to Miss Watson's frequent convulsions, Macewen suspected that the tumour above the left eye was in fact passing through the skull into the brain. Hence, he decided to cut into the mass and follow its trajectory. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the tumour did indeed pass through the skull and was putting pressure on the dura mater. Macewen successfully removed the tumour, under antiseptic conditions, and closed the wound. Miss Watson survived the operation and died some years later from kidney problems completely unrelated to this case.

This case became the first successful removal of a brain tumour in the world.

Description

In 1879, Barbara Watson came under the care of William Macewen, presenting with a large tumour over the left eye. Macewen tended to Miss Watson with his well-known skill and compassion, but little did he know that this case would become a world first in neurosurgery.

At this time, there were no methods of imaging the body non-invasively- Rontgen did not discover X-rays until 1895. Therefore, determining the dimensions of brain lesions relied on the practitioner's observations of the patient's symptoms alone. This would have required an in-depth knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the brain. Thankfully, Macewen was well-read on the current theories on the brain at that time. Miss Watson truly could not have asked for a better surgeon to help her.

Due to Miss Watson's frequent convulsions, Macewen suspected that the tumour above the left eye was in fact passing through the skull into the brain. Hence, he decided to cut into the mass and follow its trajectory. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the tumour did indeed pass through the skull and was putting pressure on the dura mater. Macewen successfully removed the tumour, under antiseptic conditions, and closed the wound. Miss Watson survived the operation and died some years later from kidney problems completely unrelated to this case.

This case became the first successful removal of a brain tumour in the world.

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