Neurosurgery in Norway started with Vilhelm Magnus (1871-1929). He was born by Norwegian parents in Minnesota, but the family moved back to Norway due to his mother’s ill health when he was still a child. After finishing high school in Bergen he studied medicine in Oslo at the same time as Roald Amundsen until the latter left the university in order to fully concentrate on his explorations.

Following graduation, Magnus travelled widely in Europe to study neurology, pathology and physiology. Significantly, he as physiologist was first to describe the function of the corpus luteum.

After working with Victor Horsley, who became a close friend, he became dedicated to brain surgery and during the next 26 years (1903-29) he instituted neurological surgery as a special field in Norway. Already by 1920 his surgical mortality for brain tumor surgery was 8.1 % which unusual at this time.


H Fodstad et al: Vilhelm Magnus pioneer neurosurgeon. J Neurosurg 73:317-330, 1990

Vik-Mo E, Reinlie S, Helseth E, Langmoen IA: Neurosurgery in Oslo. World Neurosurg. (2010) 74, 4/5:402-406.

see Arne Torkildsen.

Most Norwegian spine surgeons use minimally invasive decompression techniques in the surgical treatment of LSS, and unilateral microsurgical decompression with crossover decompression is the preferred technique. Where evidence is lacking (e.g., fusion procedures), there is a larger variation of opinions and preferred procedures among Norwegian spine surgeons 1).

Competencies gained in Norway included clinical skills, teamwork, coordination and strengthened professionalism. The main finding was that the exchange programme was a transformative experience. Upon return to Malawi, the competencies gained on the exchange were helpful. However, the return was characterized by mixed emotions due to the considerable difference between the two clinical settings 2).

Weber C, Lønne G, Rao V, Jakola AS, Solheim O, Nerland U, Rossvoll I, Nygaard ØP, Peul WC, Gulati S. Surgical management of lumbar spinal stenosis: a survey among Norwegian spine surgeons. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2017 Jan;159(1):191-197. doi: 10.1007/s00701-016-3020-0. PubMed PMID: 27848083.
Aukrust CG, Kamalo PD, Prince RJ, Sundby J, Mula C, Manda-Taylor L. Improving competencies and skills across clinical contexts of care: a qualitative study on Malawian nurses' experiences in an institutional health and training programme. Nurs Open. 2021 Aug 6. doi: 10.1002/nop2.1030. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34355870.
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