Walter Edward Dandy (April 6, 1886 – April 19, 1946) was an American neurosurgeon and scientist. He is considered one of the founding fathers of neurosurgery, along with Victor Horsley (1857–1916) and Harvey Williams Cushing (1869–1939).
Dandy is credited with numerous neurosurgical discoveries and innovations, including the description of the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, surgical treatment of hydrocephalus, the invention of air ventriculography and pneumoencephalography, the description of brain endoscopy, the establishment of the first intensive care unit 1).
Dandy can be credited with the first detailed description of the vein of Galen malformation, the first description of x-ray visualization of an intracranial aneurysm, the first characterization of basilar artery dolichoectasia, and the publication of the first comprehensive operative case series of arteriovenous malformations, cavernous malformations, and developmental venous anomalies.
Dandy performed the first surgical trapping of a cavernous internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysm by clipping the supraclinoid ICA and ligating the cervical ICA, the first clipping of an intracranial aneurysmand he also executed the first intracranial surgical clipping of the ICA to treat a carotid-cavernous fistula which marked the birth of cerebrovascular neurosurgery 2). 3).
While selectively sectioning the pain fibers in trigeminal neuralgia (which usually lie posteriorly) of the trigeminal nerve via an occipital craniectomy Dandy, as quoted in Wilkins, noted that vascular compression of the trigeminal nerve at the pons was a frequent finding 4).
During his 40-year medical career, Dandy published five books and more than 160 peer-reviewed articles while conducting a full-time, ground-breaking neurosurgical practice in which he performed during his peak years about 1000 operations per year. 5).
He was recognized at the time as a remarkably fast and particularly dextrous surgeon. Dandy was associated with the Johns Hopkins Hospital University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Hospital his entire medical career. The importance of his numerous contributions to neurosurgery in particular and to medicine in general has increased as the field of neurosurgery has evolved.