One of the world’s greatest neurosurgeons and pioneer of transsphenoidal pituitary surgery dies at 88

Charles Wilson MD was, by all accounts, an outlier.  Much has been written about his accomplishments as a surgeon and teacher, but for pituitary patients, the transsphenoidal techniques and approaches he pioneered were game changers.

The UCSF website in an obituary from Kate Vidinsky says “He took a particular interest in pituitary disorders, those affecting the pea-sized ‘master gland’ at the base of the brain responsible for controlling the body’s hormone levels. He was a pioneer of transsphenoidal surgery – the endonasal approach for removing pituitary tumors – and performed more than 3,300 of these procedures at UCSF Medical Center.

The New York Times in an obituary published yesterday describes him as “a pioneering and virtuosic San Francisco neurosurgeon”

And in a great New Yorker article   – “The Physical Genius:  What do Wayne Gretzky, Yo-Yo Ma, and a brain surgeon named Charlie Wilson have in common? – the renowned writer Malcolm Gladwell offers a fascinating look at Dr. Wilson’s life and character.


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