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International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
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Pioneer Surgeon Lars Leksell

Lars Leksell


Pioneer surgeon Lars Leksell was known as the father of stereotactic radiosurgery.Born in Fassberg, Sweden in 1907, Lars Leksell attended medical school at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. After training under Herbet Olivecrona at the Institute, he later succeeded Olivecrona as the chairman of neurosurgery in 1961. Initially working in electrophysiology for his doctoral thesis, Leksell would eventually identify the motor innervation of the muscle spindle in his publication in 1945.

Known as the father of stereotactic radiosurgery, Leksell entered the field when the morbidity and mortality associated with neurosurgery greatly outweighed the benefits. In 1948, he developed an arc-centered stereotactic frame based upon the original model built by Spiegel and Wycis in 1947. During this time Leksell also began developing what he called "radiosurgery", cross-firing ionizing radiation at a target in the brain. Leksell introduced an improved sterotactic frame in 1949, the Leksell Sterotactic system. The advantage of the frame was it's ability to attach surgical instruments to increase. During this time he also continued to improve and study radiosurgery until the application of his frame with high-energy proton radiosurgery from multiple radioactive cobalt sources. The first operation with the "gamma knife" was in 1960 during the first human sterotactic proton beam operation. Creating what is still the gold-standard for radiosurgery today, Leksell installed the first gamma unit in Stockholm in 1968. Over the rest of his career, Leksell treated 762 patients with the "Gamma Knife". Throughout this time he would propose improving radiosurgery with modern imaging modalities including CT, MRI and angiography, as is currently used today.


  • Lasak, JM. The History of Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy. Otolaryng Clincs of N.A. 2009; 42(4).
  • Lindquist, C & Kihlström L. Department of Neurosurgery, Karolinska Institute: 60 years. Neurosurg 1996. 39(5); 1016-1021.

Selected Movement Disorder Related Publications:
Top 20 first and last authored citations (from ISI Web of Knowledge)

  1. Svennilson E, Torvik A, Lowe R, Leksell L. Treatment Of Parkinsonism By Stereotactic Thermolesions In The Pallidal Region: A Review Of 81 Cases. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 2007;35(3):358-377.
  2. Leksell L, Lindquist C, Adler Jr, Leksell D, Jernberg B, Steiner L. A New Fixation Device For The Leksell Stereotaxic System. Journal Of Neurosurgery. Apr 1987;66(4):626-629.
  3. Leksell L, Herner T, Leksell D, Persson B, Lindquist C. Visualization Of Stereotatic Radiolesions By Nuclear Magnetic-Resonance. Journal Of Neurology Neurosurgery And Psychiatry. 1985;48(1):19-20.
  4. Leksell L, Leksell D, Schwebel J. Stereotaxis And Nuclear Magnetic-Resonance. Journal Of Neurology Neurosurgery And Psychiatry. 1985;48(1):14-18.
  5. Noren G, Backlund Eo, Grepe A, Leksell L. Stereotactic Neurosurgical Treatment Of Acoustic Neurinomas. Acta Neurochirurgica. 1979;45(3-4):337-338.
  6. Leksell L. Stereotactic Radiosurgery. Journal Of Neurology Neurosurgery And Psychiatry. 1983;46(9):797-803.
  7. Lunsford Ld, Leksell L, Jernberg B. Probe Holder For Stereotactic Surgery In The Ct Scanner - A Technical Note. Acta Neurochirurgica. 1983;69(3-4):297-304.
  8. Leksell L, Jernberg B. Stereotaxis And Tomography - A Technical Note. Acta Neurochirurgica. 1980;52(1-2):1-7.
  9. Forster Dmc, Steiner L, Leksell L, Backlund Eo, Noren G, Greitz T. Place Of Radiosurgery In The Treatment Of Inoperable Cerebral Arteriovenous-Malformations. Acta Neurochirurgica. 1979;49(3-4):260-260.
  10. Leksell L. Stereotactic Methods In General Neurosurgery. Acta Neurochirurgica. 1979;45(3-4):321-321.
  11. Boethius J, Forster Dmc, Leksell L, Meyerson Ba, Steiner L. Medial Thalamotomy In Cancer Pain. Acta Neurochirurgica. 1973;29(3-4):263-263.
  12. Leksell L, Forster Dmc, Meyerson Ba. Radiosurgical Thalamotomy For Intractable Pain. Confinia Neurologica. 1972;34(1):264-&.
  13. Leksell L. Note On Treatment Of Acoustic Tumours. Acta Chirurgica Scandinavica. 1971;137(8):763-&.
  14. Leksell L. Stereotaxic Radiosurgery In Trigeminal Neuralgia. Acta Chirurgica Scandinavica. 1971;137(4):311-&.
  15. Leksell L. Stereotaxis And Radiosurgery. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. 1970;46(4-5):621-&.
  16. Meyerson Ba, Bingley T, Leksell L. Treatment Of Parkinsonism With L-Dopa In Operated And Nonoperated Patients. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. 1970;46(4-5):631-&.
  17. Leksell L. Cerebral Radiosurgery Gammathalomotomy In 2 Cases Of Intractable Pain. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. 1969;45(2):243-&.
  18. Larsson B, Leksell L, B R, Sourander P, Mair W, Andersson B. The High-Energy Proton Beam As A Neurosurgical Tool. Nature. 1958;182(4644):1222-1223.
  19. Leksell L. The Stereotaxic Method And Radiosurgery Of The Brain. Acta Chir Scand. 1951;102(4):3
  20. Leksell L. A Stereotaxic Apparatus For Intracerebral Surgery. Acta Chir Scand. 1949;99:229-233.

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