Before and After I Knew: Disclosure, Respect, Gratitude, and Solemnity

(Video presentation can be accessed from the HTML)


  • Susan E. Mackinnon
  • Andrew Yee



The Pernkopf anatomical atlas has contributed significantly to the specialty of nerve surgery through its infiltration in surgical training and the development of novel procedures due to the accurate depiction of the nervous system. Until the recent advancements of the Pernkopf controversy, nerve surgeons have struggled with the ethical dilemma presented with its use in surgery and clinical practice. In this article, we explore a personal story and reflection by an individual nerve surgeon, their contribution to the advancement of the Pernkopf controversy, and how different professional domains (surgery, anatomy, ethics, religion, and education) were able to collaborate to address the historical crimes against humanity and issues in the anatomical sciences. This required a structured approach to address this ethical dilemma in surgery, which included (1) an assessment of the use of the Pernkopf atlas in specific surgical specialties (nerve surgery and oral and maxillofacial surgery) and (2) the development of a graduated ethical framework with a religious framework (the Vienna Protocol), if the Pernkopf atlas was to be used in surgery. These studies are reviewed in the context of evolving paradigms in nerve surgery (nerve repair, grafting, and transfers) and influence of anatomy in the advancement of this surgical specialty.

Image credit: Table of Contents image provided by the Medical University of Vienna, MUW-ZE-003250-0005-0195r




How to Cite

Mackinnon, S. E., & Yee, A. (2021). Before and After I Knew: Disclosure, Respect, Gratitude, and Solemnity: (Video presentation can be accessed from the HTML). Journal of Biocommunication, 45(1).