History of the European Society of Neuroradiology

The history of the development of neuroradiology can be divided into three roughly equal periods. The first, that of infancy, was from 1895 to 1918. The second began in 1918 with Dandy’s two great and almost simultaneous discoveries of ventriculography and encephalography, together with his prediction of air myelography. Then followed in 1927 Moniz’s great contribution, cerebral angiography. In July 1939, an important event took place which was to influence the future very strongly: the first Symposium Neuroradiologicum held in Antwerp under the chairmanship of Dr. Thienpont. The third period after 1939 takes us to the present day.

Symposium Neuroradiologicum

For almost 50 years the Symposium has maintained its position as the most important international gathering of individuals working in the field of neuroradiology. This meeting, originally initiated by a few specialists, has grown to the size of an international congress.

Despite the increasing competition from other types of meetings, the symposia have succeeded in attracting the most active and prominent scientists in neuroradiology. This has ensured a high scientific standard and kept the symposia in the forefront of scientific and technical development. As a matter of fact, many of the technical achievements were presented as unknown - or practically unused - modalities at a symposium. Almost every symposium held after the Second World War has been hallmarked by the advent of at least one new methodology.

The founding of ESNR

1969 – Under the initiative of Prof. Auguste Wackenheim (Strasbourg, France) and Prof. Jean Paul Braun (Colmar, France), organizers of the 1st European Symposium of Neuroradiology, in close collaboration with Prof. Ziedses des Plantes (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), about fifty specialists, most of them radiologists but all passionate about Neuroradiology, met to found the European Society of Neuroradiology. The Members of the European Society of Neuroradiology were animated by the desire to take part in scientific exchanges beyond national barriers. The Society would provide the possibility to discuss problems in common and bring all its members into closer relationship. The objectives of this new European Society were mainly scientific and if at the outset, some already sketched the idea of ​​ creating a real “specialty ", the results of this effort would be realized only many years later.

Due to the international political context of the time, the ESNR consisted mainly of countries in Western Europe, which explains the location of the first Congresses: France, Great Britain, Italy, Germany. The first congress of the ESNR organized in "Eastern Europe" was held in Prague in Czechoslovakia in 1984, some years before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The concept of neuroradiological specialization has evolved since 1969 until today, where this concept is now widely accepted. Neuroradiology is currently considered a radiological super specialty also in legal terms. Part of this work focused on relations with the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) for recognition of the neuroradiology discipline. Under the forthright leadership of ESNR President Pierre Lasjaunias, the ESNR set up a study group that spent several years drafting the documentation required for this task. A few years ago, the UEMS finally attributed neuroradiology the role of a “division” of the radiology specialty.

In this area, the ESNR has played a decisive role for more than twenty years not only from the “political” standpoint, but also due to its scientific and cultural impact with the active participation of all its members. The name of the ESNR was modified a few years ago adding “Diagnostic and Interventional” to highlight the bond between the two branches of neuroradiology that have diversified over the years but continue to remain complementary and culturally and operatively inseparable.

Establishment of Courses

The European Society of Neuroradiology has initially been an activity mainly characterized by the scientific organization of annual conferences. It is only since 1984 that the European Course of Neuroradiology was established. The purpose of the European Course of Neuroradiology is to teach and share the anatomo-clinical and diagnostic imaging knowledge in neuroradiology. The specific objectives of the ECNR is to assemble group of trainees in all the neurosciences, especially in neuroradiology, to demonstrate and to discuss the application of basic anatomy and clinical knowledge to the neuroradiology of children and adults. The first round took place in Toulouse, Ancona and Brussels. The course was a resounding success attracting participants from all over the world and attended by hundreds of students. The cycle of European Courses was redesigned with parallel teachings, on a common neuroradiological basis, of both diagnostic and interventional. The course was recently transformed into four weeks spread over two years with a final examination to qualify as a “Fellow in Neuroradiology”, the ESNR’s recognition of students’ neuroradiology expertise similar to the society’s admission criteria in the past but much more structured and important.

Over the course of 40 years the ESNR has prospered from a tiny association of idealists into a strong and important association of highly specialized professional neuroradiologists recognized as such all over the world. It has evolved gradually over time, tirelessly overcoming difficulties, misunderstandings and obstacles. Everyone has played a role from the ESNR members to the various Presidents and Officers. The society has seen great continuity. We are a strong and lively scientific society thanks to the generous ongoing commitment of all those who have supported the ESNR from 1969 to date.