Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Francisco Graña, eminent Peruvian neurosurgeon

Francisco Graña. Via International Museum of Surgical Science Facebook.

Francisco Graña (1879–1959) was a Peruvian neurosurgeon who once removed a subdural hematoma using 2,000-year-old tools, including a saw of volcanic obsidian glass and a bronze chisel, borrowed from the Peru National Museum of Archaeology.

Born into a family of medical professionals, Graña studied medicine at the National University of San Marcos in Lima, graduating in 1904. He specialized in neurosurgery in Paris and in 1911 became Professor of Clinical Surgery at San Marcos. As Chief of the Department of Surgery of the Hospital Obrero in Lima, he was one of the first surgeons to successfully remove a pituitary tumor (1919).

Graña made important contributions to the treatment of brain injuries, abscesses, tumors, and vascular lesions. He introduced to Peru modern neurosurgical techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT), as well as focusing on innovative methods that minimized the invasiveness of procedures. He trained the first generation of Peruvian neurosurgeons and published over eighty scientific articles and books, including his Treatise on Brain Surgery in two volumes.

With his colleague Dr. Estaban Rocca, Graña studied hundreds of pre-Hispanic trephined skulls from ancient Inca and other periods, observing evidence of ancient surgical techniques. He advocated for initiatives that provided medical services in remote or economically disadvantaged regions.

Graña continued operating and teaching through the 1940s and 1950s. He retired in 1958 and died in Lima in 1959 at age eighty, remembered as the founder of neurosurgery in Peru.



International Museum of Surgical Science, Facebook, December 23, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/surgicalmuseumchicago/photos/a.547288911967015/4043786042317267.



GEORGE DUNEA, MD, Editor-in-Chief


Summer 2023  |  Sections  |  Surgery

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