Historical Perspective

The history of tumourous proptosis is often confused with the history of medicine and ophthalmology, but the first efforts at coherent classification are much more recent [8]. Antonio Scarpa in 1816, [67] offered the first clinical description of optic nerve (ON) tumours. Jean Cruveilhier (1835) [14] thought that meningioma should be considered as clinical entities that are entirely separate from tumours of the central nervous system. Von Graefe in 1854 [79] considered ON tumours to be entirely separate and attributed to them the first semiological criteria of diagnosis. It was not before Hudson discovered it in 1912 [32] that a clear distinction was made between optic nerve glioma and meningioma of the optic nerve sheath. Harvey Cushing [15] made the first distinction between primitive meningioma of the optic nerve sheath and intracranial meningioma that spreads to the orbit. The idea of approaching the orbit via the endocranial approach was successfully described and practised by Durante 1887 [22]. Surgery to the posterior part of the orbit was at its peak when neurosurgery first came into being less than a century ago. The problem of retracting the frontal lobe, which had always been considered as the main obstacle for this approach, was partially solved as early as 1913 when Frazier [26] suggesting the deposing of the orbital margin. The first neurosurgical principles for this were described by Naffziger [55]. According to this perspective, a pter-ional approach of the orbit was proposed by Hamby in 1964 [29]. Simultaneously, during the 1960's the first developments in orbito-cranial surgery of cranio-facial malformations came about with the findings of Converse, Tessier and Mustarde. On the basis of these technical principles, numerous works appeared that aimed to define the principles of reconstruction following excision [45, 2, 75]. It is still difficult, to this day, to dissociate the history of orbital surgery from the recent history of imaging: ultrasonography, CT scan using X-rays and MRI. Although it is not strictly the history of neurosurgery, we cannot leave aside IT imaging and its clinical and ther apeutic consequences. The first comparative description of orbital tumours examined by MRI and CT scan can be attributed to Li [42]. Today, imaging is not only a factor in diagnosis but also directly in the surgical procedures of intracranial neuronavigation as described by Shanno in 2001 [72] and possibly, in future, during surgery (intra operative MRI).

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