Pages of a history of institute

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Full Member of the USSR Academy of Medical Science, Honored Science Worker of the Russian Federation, State Prize Winner,
Prof. Andrey Lvovich Polenov

The foundation (1926) and further development of the Polenov Neurosurgical Institute, which was the first one in the world, can be regarded as a sign of equality between its history and the history of neurosurgery as a whole. The Leningrad Province Department of Public Health organized Research and Practice Institute of Surgical Neuropathology in May 1926 on the initiative of professors Molotkov A.G. and Fiodorov S.P. It occupied the building of the former Aleksandrinskaya Female Hospital situated in Nadezhdinskaya street (now Mayakovskaya st., 12). This event was a logical continuation of the idea belonging to Prof. Bekhterev V.M., the head of the Neurologic Clinic of the Medicomilitary Academy, who created a special operating room for "brain surgery" in it as far back as 1897.

Puusepp L.M., Bekhterev's follower, mastered both neurology and surgical technique and became the first Russian neurosurgeon. He was a creator of the first Russian neurosurgical clinic and Molotkov A.G., being his follower, organized the Institute of Surgical Neuropathology. It was supposed from the very beginning that the Institute would carry out study of a clinical course and surgical treatment of diseases of the nervous system and make research in the field of anatomy, physiology, pathology and biochemistry.

Prof. Fiodorov S.P., one of the founders of surgery of the nervous system, was an enthusiast of the Institute creation and took part in its work since the very beginning; he was its Director in 1929-1936.

Puusepp L.M., Polenov A.L., Babchin I.S.

The firsts USSR Chair of Neurosurgery of the State Institute of Postgraduate Education was organized on a base of the Polenov Institute. It was headed by Polenov A.L., Babchin I.S., Ugriumov V.M., Zemskaya A.G., Ryabukha N.P. Today its head is Honored Science Worker of the Russian Federation, Prof. Bersnev V.P. Directors of the Institute were Doctor of Medical Science, Prof. Skoblo M.S. (1936) and Candidate of Medical Science, Senior Researcher Ginsburg E.A. (1936-1938).

An important stage in the history of the Institute was its reorganization into the Leningrad Research Neurosurgical Institute in 1938. It allowed to pay greater attention to development of clinical aspects and to bring scientific goals nearer to needs of practical public health. During this time the Institute was headed by Honored Science Worker, Prof. Polenov A.L., who guided development of main trends of neurosurgery. The end of the 30s can be viewed as a final step in formation of the Institute. Several manuals and monographs were published, including "A Brief Course of Technique of Operations on the Peripheral and Central Nervous Systems" by Polenov A.L., Babchin I.S., Mashansky F.I.; "Morphology of Cerebral Tumors" by Gakkel V.M.; "Tumors of the Brain" by Razdolsky I.Ya., etc. The work on organization of neurosurgical service in the Russian Federation (RF) began. In essence, it was a birth of one of the most important trends of the Institute activity, which acquired even greater importance in a postwar period.


Honored Science Worker of Russian Federation, Prof. Molotkov A.G.

During the Great Patriotic War the Institute turned to rendering specialized care to the wounded of neurosurgical profile in besieged Leningrad. Prof. Babchin I.S. became a Chief of Neurosurgical Service of the Leningrad Front, specialized teams were headed by Volkov A.A., Filshtinsky M.M., Samotokin B.A.

The work of the Institute continued under extremely difficult conditions of the besieged city: without food, constant electric light, water, heating. In fact, it became a specialized hospital where the wounded were delivered directly from the battle-front. Polenov A.L., Bondarchuk A.V., Belova T.S., Vaskin I.S., Ginzburg E.A., Revyakin L.P., Terpugov E.A., Gakkel V.M., Manoilov E.O., Zemskaya A.G., Molotkov A.N. worked at the Institute during these years.


Honored Science Worker of Russian Federation, Prof. Fedorov S.P.

Manuals, edited by Polenov A.L. and entitled "The First Surgical Care in Gunshot Wounds of the Nervous System", "Technique of Operations on the Nervous System in Wartime Injuries", etc., were published in Leningrad in 1941. They were of great importance and necessity for medical establishments of combat areas and the home front. "Atlas of Operations on the Brain and Spinal Cord" written by Polenov L.A. and Bondarchuk A.V. was published in 1946; the authors got the State Prize of the first degree for it. Director of the Institute, Full Member of the Academy of Medical Science of the USSR, Prof Polenov died on July19, 1947. According to the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the Leningrad Research Neurosurgical Institute was named after him. Unveiling of the monument near the Institute building took place on October 25, 1954. It is Polenov's bronze bust (by Dadykin N.V., a sculptor and Smirnov Yu.N., an architect).

The subsequent period of the Institute activity (Director - Neurosurgeon-in-Chief of the Russian Federation, Full Member of the Academy of Medical Science of the USSR, Prof. Shamov V.N.) was devoted to an extremely important problem of organizing a network of neurosurgical establishment in the Russian Federation and training of personnel. It was decided to start specialization and to organize advanced courses on neurosurgery and adjacent areas. The Institute employees began to visit newly-organized neurosurgical departments.

Unveiling of the memorial plaque, placed on the front of the Institute building and devoted to outstanding surgeon, Lenin Prize Winner, Full Member of the Academy of Medical Science of the USSR, Lieutenant-General Shamov V.N., took place on October 10, 1984 (Gorevoy V.E., a sculptor and Cokolov N.A., an architect).

The Institute staff was a kernel of the Leningrad Scientific Society of Neurosurgeons which was the first one in the country. It was organized on the initiative of Prof. Babchin I.S., who was one of the closest followers of Polenov A.L. He made a valuable contribution to training personnel and popularization of knowledge by creating the first educational supplies and writing manuals on neurosurgery. He devoted more than 40 years to teaching. The Leningrad Scientific Society was reorganized into the Saint Petersburg Association of Neurosurgeons in 1992. According to the unanimous decision of the Association members, it was named after its creator, Prof. Babchin Isaak Savelievich in March 1997; it was a day of unveiling of the memorial plaque on the Institute building (Astapov S.A. and Troyanovsky V.I., sculptors; designed by Kondakov E.N.).

In 1950 it was decided to hold regular All-Russia and interregional scientific-practical conferences for reviewing results of organizational and scientific activity and promoting introduction of new methods of diagnosis and treatment into practice.


Lenin Prize Winner, Full Member of the Academy of Medical Science of the USSR Shamov V.N.


Honored Science Worker,
Prof. Ugriumov V.M.

The subsequent years were devoted to better equipment of existing units; the Laboratory of Electrophysiology was organized; a building for a radiologic department with the first native betatron was constructed.

In 1961 Prof. Ugriumov V.M. became Director of the Institute and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Russian Federation. The main trends of activity at this time were as follows:

  • complex study of problems of pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of closed craniocerebral trauma and injuries of peripheral nerves;
  • epilepsy;
  • vascular diseases and tumors of the brain;
  • improvement of therapeutic measure on the basis of new data of research;
  • further improvement of organizational activity in the field of personnel training in the Russian Federation and widening a network of neurosurgical establishments with constant analysis of its functioning.

A many-sided deep approach to studying neurosurgical problems, based on further development of clinical-morphologic, clinical-biochemical and clinical-mathematical trends, as well as high activity of the Institute employees made it possible to summarize the results in theses and monographs. In 1969 a two-volume manual, entitled "Surgery of the CNS" and edited by Prof. Ugriumov V.M., was published. It generalized experience accumulated by the Institute employees during many years.

In 1976 the Council on Defense of Theses for a Degree of a Doctor and Candidate of Medical Science was organized; 284 theses were considered by it and defended (61 and 223 theses for a Doctor's and Candidate's degree respectively). It is indicative of effective work of the Council and strict keeping to terms of defense. According to a Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council of June 17, 1976, the Institute was awarded with the Order of the Red Banner of Labor for its contribution to development of medical science and training personnel.

Later on the Institute was headed by Doctor of Medical Science Rachkov B.M. (1980-1984) and Doctor of Medical Science Tigliev G.S. (1984-1987).

One of the important stages of neurosurgery development at this period was working out Order N 108 of the RF Ministry of Public Health of February 9, 1987. It was entitled "On a State and Measures on Further Development and Improvement of Neurosurgical Care Rendered to Population of the Russian Federation". The IVth All-Union Congress of Neurosurgeons held in Leningrad was also of great importance as it summarized the results of 60-year activity of the Polenov Neurosurgical Institute and neurosurgical service of the country.

In 1987 Prof. Bersnev V.P. was appointed Director of the Institute; Prof. Zotov Yu.V. became Assistant Director on Research and Prof. Melkishev V.F. filled a post of Scientific Secretary. And as usual the Institute continues to be the leading neurosurgical establishment of the Ministry of Public Health of the Russian Federation.

Today the Institute has 205 beds and five clinical departments: Department of Surgical Treatment of CNS Trauma, Department of Surgical Treatment of Trauma of the Peripheral Nervous System, Department of Vascular Surgery, Neurooncologic Department, Department of Children's Neurosurgery and Department of Anesthesiology and Resuscitation. Interventions are performed in 7 specialized operating rooms. There is an X-ray operating room. Diagnosis and treatment is carried out by highly qualified specialists: neuropathologists, ophthalmologists, therapeutists. There are Laboratories of Electrophysiology and Biochemistry. As it has been mentioned, the Institute took an active part in creation of neurosurgical service.


Honored Science Worker of Russian Federation, Doctor of Medical Science,
Prof. Bersnev V.P.


Honored Science Worker of Russian Federation, Doctor of Medical Science,
Prof. Zotov Yu.V.


Assistant Director on Research, Doctor of Medical Science Melkishev V.F.

Today it is functioning successfully and comprises 11 interregional neurosurgical centers. Section on Neurosurgery N 3 of the Scientific Council of the RF Ministry of Public Health coordinates research carried out in medial establishments of Russia. The Institute plays an important part in training neurosurgical personnel and specialists in adjacent fields. About 100 neurosurgeons are trained at the Institute every year. A number of people who went through postgraduate training is equal to 244 (1947-2001). The Institute is a base of the Chair of Neurosurgery of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Postgraduate Education as well as chairs of nervous diseases with a course on neurosurgery of other medical establishment of higher education.

The Institute activity of 75 years is characterized by considerable contribution to development of native neurosurgery. There are 87 monographs, 5 atlases, 71 collections of scientific articles, 293 brochures with recommendation on various methods and problems. Researchers of the Institute made very interesting reports at 4 All-Union and some International congresses of neurosurgeons, 22 All-Russia conferences and numerous meetings, seminars, symposia, etc. The Saint Petersburg Association of Neurosurgeons named after Prof. Babchin and the Polenov Research Neurosurgical Institute were initiators of calling the First Constituent Congress of Russian Neurosurgeons in 1995 (Ekaterinburg). There it was decided to create the RF Association of Neurosurgeons. It was put into reality. The employees of the Institute took an active part in organization of the IInd Congress of Neurosurgeons of the Russian Federation (Nizhny Novgorod).

Such outstanding scientists and neurosurgeons, as Molotkov A.G., Fiodorov S.P., Blumenau L.P., took an active part in organization of the Department and its work. Beginning with the 1940s, the Department was headed by Prof. Babchin I.S., who held this post for a rather long period of time. Today its head is Doctor of Medical Science, Prof. Olyushin V.E.

Deputy Director on Clinical Activity, Honored Doctor of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Medical Science, Prof. Olyushin V.E.

The activity of the Department employees is aimed at studying five main problems, which are of great importance for medical science and practical public health:

- Pathogenesis, a clinical picture and treatment of traumatic lesions of the nervous system.
- Neurosurgical pathology of cerebral vessels.
- A clinical picture, diagnosis and complex treatment of CNS tumors.
- Functional neurosurgery (surgical treatment of epilepsy and pain syndromes).
- Anesthesiology and neuroresuscitation.

New clinical methods and ways of treatment have been developed and introduced into practice. Among them one can mention proton therapy of endosellar pituitary adenomas and inoperable arterial aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations, vasodilation in spasm of cerebral vessels, treatment of patients with crush foci of the brain, dislocation and brain stem strangulation. New surgical approaches to basal parts of the brain have been worked out. Original endovascular operations are performed in patients with aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations. Clinical-physiologic monitoring of a patient's state during an operation and in the nearest postoperative period has been developed and introduced. Wide use of microsurgery has resulted in considerable prolongation of operability limits and increase of a number of radical operations, as well as in reduction of postoperative mortality and improvement of patients' re-adaptation.

Introduction of new and original methods of diagnosis, treatment, surgical accesses and microsurgical technique has led to significant improvement of clinical results. Nowadays, the Institute is a universally recognized Russian center capable of rendering highly qualified care to patients with diseases and injuries of the nervous system.

Nowadays they continue to carry out various developments based on data of applied and fundamental research and do it in compliance with traditions of Leningrad-Petersburg scientific school.