Vitaly Alexandrovich Khilko, an outstanding home neurosurgeon, is seventy in July 2000.
He was born on July 15, 1930. Vitaly Alexandrovich finished school with a silver medal and entered the Medicomilitary Academy in 1948. When a student he was greatly interested in surgery and carried out research at the Chair of Military Surgery headed by professors Banaitis S.I. and Berkutov A.N. After graduation in 1954 Khilko V.A. served as a medical officer in the Group of Soviet Troops dislocated in Germany where he continued to improve his surgical skills and visited the advanced training courses at the Group Chief Hospital.
Khilko V.A. was appointed an attending medical doctor of the Chair of Neurosurgery of the Medicomilitary Academy in January 1959. Then he worked as a senior doctor in charge, a junior instructor, a lecturer and an assistant chief of the Chair. Khilko V.A. was a chief of the Chair of Neurosurgery and headed the neurosurgical service of the USSR Armed Forces since 1982 up to 1992. He became a major-general of Medical Services in 1985. After retirement in 1993 Khilko V.A. continues to fill a professor’s post at the Chair of Neurosurgery.
His teacher was Major-General Samotokin B.A., a prominent neurosurgeon, professor and Hero of Socialist Labour, who headed the Chair of Neurosurgery during 25 years. It should be emphasized that thanks to Khilko V.A. Leningrad witnessed introduction of puncture and then selective cerebral angiography; besides he was the first in the country to perform muscular embolization of carotid-cavernous anastomosis and to work out methods of intravascular embolization of arteriovenous malformations with polysterol emboli. It all happened in 1959. He defended the thesis entitled “On Aneurysms of Cerebral Vessels” and became a Candidate of Medical Sciences in 1964. His next thesis entitled ”Intra- and Extracranial Aneurysms” and defended in 1970 made him a Doctor of Medical Sciences. He acquired the academic status of a professor in 1975.
Khilko V.A. has contributed greatly to vascular neurosurgery. He was the first to introduce an operating microscope and microsurgical technique in 1969. They were used in operations for aneurysms and brain tumors. Besides Khilko V.A. took an active part in working out surgical methods aimed at elimination of arteriovenous anastomosis, balloonization and embolization of arteriosinus anastomosis and arteriovenous malformations, artificial thrombosing of aneurysms, etc. This work resulted in publication of the book entitled “Aneurysms and Arteriovenous Anastomoses” and written by Samotokin B.A. and Khilko V.A. (1973). A year later the authors were awarded with the Burdenko Prize for it. The next book entitled “Intravascular Surgery” was written by Zubkov Yu.N. and Khilko V.A. in 1982. The activity of Samotokin B.A. and Khilko V.A. in this field was appreciated highly and they received the State Prize of the USSR in 1985.
Khilko V.A. made a valuable contribution to development of military neurosurgery when he was a chief neurosurgeon of the USSR Ministry of Defense. He wrote many chapters for textbooks and manuals and took an active part in organization of specialized care during the war in Afghanistan.
Khilko V.A. guided the study of the immune system and its state in craniocerebral trauma, non-specific resistance of the body in casualties and sanative processes typical of a cerebral wound.
He worked out new surgical approaches to tumors of the cerebellopontine angle, reconstructive operations on the facial nerve and canal of the temporal bone pyramid. Scientific interests of Khilko V.A. are extremely broad and various; his research of neurosurgical problems is always based on a profound interdisciplinary systemic approach. His scientific works in the field of neurooncology are known widely. Khilko V.A. has worked out methods of removing difficult-of-access tumors, primary neoplasms of the brain stem and tumors localized in the stem area. A considerable part of investigations guided by him is devoted to problems of physiology and pathophysiology of cerebral circulation in various diseases of the brain. He is one of the initiators of endovasal operations in neurosurgery.
One can hardly find any type of surgical intervention which has not been improved or modified by V.A. Khilko. His activity has proved that neurosurgery is not only science but also art to a great extent.
Vitaly Alexandrovich is an active participant of developments on rehabilitation of patients with impaired or lost neurologic functions by means of electrostimulation of different structures of the nervous system including optic and acoustic nerves.
Khilko V.A. is a head of the Saint Petersburg Science and Practice Center which was founded by him in 1994 after retirement. This Center is attached to municipal multi-field hospital ¹ 2 which is provided with up-to-date diagnostic (CT, NMR, angiographic devices) and surgical equipment. It allows to perform difficult operations on the spinal cord and brain.
Khilko V.A. was elected a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in 1988 and became its academician in 1999. He is a leader of a special academic group working at the problems of diagnosis and surgical treatment of cerebral ischemia.
Khilko V.A. is an author of more than 300 scientific publications including 5 monographs and 20 inventions. Besides a number of theses submitted for a doctor’s and candidate’s degree and written under his guidance is equal to 11 and 23 respectively.
Vitaly Alexandrovich is full of energy. He takes an active part in the Center’s activity, makes operations, guides research, continues to introduce new methods of diagnosis and surgical treatment, participates in the work of the Association of Neurosurgeons of Russia and is a member of the editorial board of such journals as “Voprosy Neirokhirurgii Imeni N.N. Burdenko” and “Vestnik Khirurgii Imeni I.I. Grekova”.
There is no doubt that Khilko V.A. is one of the leading neurosurgeons of Russia. He is well-known abroad. Khilko V.A. was a participant of many international congresses and symposia held in the USA, Denmark, Bulgaria, France, Poland, India, Spain.
His work as a clinician, researcher and lecturer was appreciated highly and V.A. Khilko was awarded with the Order of the Third Class (For Servicing the Homeland in the Armed Forces) and many medals.
Khilko V.A. is a famous scientist and highly skilled neurosurgeon. He has made a great contribution to development of home neurosurgery and is continuing to carry out research in this field and to train both scientists and practical neurosurgeons.The Association of Neurosurgeons of Russia and the editing committee of the Russian Neurosurgery Journal congratulate V. Khilko with his jubilee and wish him to be in good health, to live a long and happy life and to have every success in his creative activity.