Authors: Andrew A. Ajisebutu; Marc Del Bigio, MD, PhD, FRCPC; Michael West; Demitre Serletis (Winnipeg, Canada)


In 1950, Dr. Dwight Parkinson (1916-2005) was the first qualified neurosurgeon to arrive in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at a time when there was not another neurosurgeon for over a thousand miles. He played a monumental role in developing one of the earliest neurosurgical training programs in Western Canada.


Using published materials (including online resources), hospital archives and interviews with former trainees and colleagues, we have conducted a comprehensive and systematic historical review of Parkinson’s formative years, his development of the Section of Neurosurgery at the University of Manitoba, his neurosurgical achievements and his wide-reaching impact and legacy.


Parkinson was a pioneering neurosurgeon who went on to serve as the first President of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society, in 1965. He was the epitome of the skull base neurosurgeon, a subspecialty in its infancy at the time to which he contributed a detailed neuroanatomical body of work on the lateral sellar compartment (housing the parasellar venous plexus -- a term he emphasized as more accurate than ‘cavernous sinus’). During his career, Parkinson made seminal contributions in the management of cerebrovascular disease, in addition to offering new insights on cerebral concussion.


Parkinson’s steadfast philosophy towards neurosurgical excellence and resident education laid a cornerstone for the development of neurosurgery and the neurosciences in Manitoba, marking him a key figure in Canadian neurosurgery. This updated biographic synopsis offers new insights into the personal and professional exploits of this remarkable, and at times strictly disciplinarian, neurosurgeon-anatomist.