Surgical Principles and Operative Results
Principles in surgery spring from a very simple, obvious, and patent fact: the aim of the surgical procedure is to cure the patient. To reach this goal requires repeated trial and error over the years. Moreover, principles do not remain true forever, but may change with technological advances. For example, at the turn of the century, it was mandatory to operate as fast as possible because long anesthesia was dangerous; speed in surgery is now meaningless since the duration of the anesthetic procedure is no longer a problem. Unfortunately the reasons behind such principles are often progressively forgotten so that their justification is no longer understood. In other cases they may become invalid, but continue to be applied. To under-stand the present situation a certain knowledge of history is therefore essential. For all these reasons, it may be of some interest to recall what posterior fossa surgery was in the 1950, and what difficulties had to be overcome.
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