Pioneering Turkish neurosurgeon Hami Dilek and the traces of Harvey Cushing's legacy in his work

Elmaci I. , Balak N.

JOURNAL OF NEUROSURGERY, vol.108, no.4, pp.821-829, 2008 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Editorial Material
  • Volume: 108 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.3171/jns/2008/108/4/0821
  • Title of Journal : JOURNAL OF NEUROSURGERY
  • Page Numbers: pp.821-829


Hami Dilek trained in neurosurgery under Clovis Vincent and Thierry de Martel, pioneers of French neurosurgery who ranked among Harvey Cushing's most loyal admirers. Taking cues from Cushing and the giants of French neurosurgery, Dilek became the first surgeon to practice neurosurgery regularly in Turkey during the 1930s. In 1949, Dilek founded the first independent Turkish department of neurosurgery in Istanbul, and in 195 1 he initiated resident training in neurosurgery. Both Cushing and Dilek started out as general surgeons and then became fascinated by the brain and spine. Also, they both single-handedly developed a new specialty where one did not exist before. Further similarities between Dilek and Cushing are also revealed in Dilek's delightful surgical and anatomical drawings. Dilek played an important role in the establishment and development of modern Turkish neurosurgery, and his life story highlights the fact that Cushing's legacy strongly influenced Turkish neurosurgery in the first half of the 20th century.