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Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk
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About the clinicHistory and founders

The History of International Neurosurgery Center

The declaration of independence of Ukraine in 1991 became the catalyst to open in the same year a branch of neurosurgery of spinal-brain pathology at the Kyiv City Clinical Emergency Hospital. The promoter and subsequent director of such a branch became the energetic neurosurgeon, Dr Igor Kurilets. From the outset, the work of the branch relied on progressive technology, about which neurosurgeons of the (former) USSR could only dream.

In 1992 Dr Kurilets by chance was able to meet the well known English neurosurgeon, Henry Marsh. The ensuing discussion between the two neurosurgeons revealed cardinal differences between the practice of neurosurgery in Ukraine and neurosurgery in Western Europe. That chance meeting began an ongoing warm friendship, and a rewarding and co-operative medical experience.

In 1993 on the recommendation of the academic A.P. Romodaniv and at the invitation of Henry Marsh as well as the French company Sofamor, Dr Igor Kurilets began an intensive training programme in Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Hungary. That trip was revolutionary for soviet neurosurgery, because it brought to Ukraine new technology in the field of neurosurgery which provided vastly different results from earlier surgeries. Beginning in 1993 the surgical microscope became an integral aspect in the performance of neurosurgery on herniated spinal disks, tumours on the brain, neuralgic triple nerve, and cranial-vertebrae pathology. In parallel, for the first time in the CIS we undertook the first spinal instrumentation utilising the methodology of Kotrel & Duboisse on a broken spinal chord, spondylolisthesis and scoliosis.

With the support of President Kuchma, under the direction of Dr Kurilets, in 1995 the spinal and brain surgery department was reorganised to be more like the European clinics. Henry Marsh and the company Sofamor achieved technological reformation of the clinic; there were countless training sessions of Ukrainian neurosurgeons in other countries as well as visitations of doctors from England and Poland.

In 1998 with the support of the Ambassador to Great Britain in Ukraine, His Excellency Roy River, as a first in Ukraine, a permanent telecommunication system via the internet was organised between Dr Igor Kurilets’ clinic and London. Questions relating to the treatment of the more seriously ill were resolved with the assistance of colleagues in England. The popularity of the department and the number of surgeries progressively increased from 280 in 1992 to over 800 in the years 1999-2000. Mortality for the corresponding period reduced from 12 to 1%.

The obvious success still could not withhold the uneasy reaction of the corrupt echelons of the medical administrators within the Kyiv City Administration and the neurosurgical profession, which maintained a neurosurgical “olympus” of that period. In the year 2000 the work of the department was paralysed, and after a series of bureaucratic inspections and pseudo-reorganisations Dr Kurilets with his team of doctor-neurosurgeons and nurses were forced to seek employment in the non-government sector of medicine. This was a time of blossoming corruption in the country, bureaucratic highhandedness knew no boundaries, millions of Ukrainians permanently left Ukraine, yet there were those who accepted the challenges of their future.

In 2001 the first non-government clinic of neurosurgery was opened in Ukraine: - “International Neurosurgery Center” (INSC). The idea to open such a clinic lies with Henry Marsh. He was the founder of the clinic. Dr Igor Kurilets and his team were also assisted by the well known Ukrainian neurosurgeon Dr V. Schehlov, the founder of the very first private hospital in Ukraine – B. Fedoryshyn, and H. Dvorzhak from Poland. Most deserving and meritorious gratitude must go to General M.P. Zacharash, who was a defender of the progress of medicine, providing us with the possibility of organising the work of the International Centre for Neurosurgery in the VMU SBU hospital. The modernisation of the clinic to current standards has been fulfilled by the American giant corporation in the area of medical technology, “Medtronics”.

The centre is now functioning and is modelled on the modern neurosurgical departments of Western Europe. Our aim is to establish current European standards in the areas of neurosurgery and orthopaedics.

Today, with the participation of Henry Marsh, the Centre has become familiar with modern technical operations on the brain (wake-up anaesthesia, corrective stimulation, sitting position, and so on), and also the modern operations of Suk-Lenke (Korea-USA), with complex spinal curvature with the assistance of Professor Noberto Ventura (Spain).

In the years 2005 – 2008 the INSC led the way with the establishment and government registration in Ukraine of modern medical technology, especially the navigational system Stealth station Treon Plus (USA), a system of implants with surgery on the spine: CD Horizon Legacy (USA), CD Horizon M8 (USA), Sextant II (USA), DIAM (France), Socore (France), a system for monitoring the function of the spine during surgery NIM Spine (USA), , also the system Electa (Italy) for the intrasurgical aortahemotransfision. Much of the abovenoted technology enabled the revolution of native neurosurgery and the liquidation of the extreme lag by world standards, which occurred at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries.

Every year the clinic consults to and receives up to 5000 neurosurgical patients, which is analogically the norm of the European Union results.

In 2007, the BBC produced a documentary about International Neurosurgery Center titled “The English Surgeon”, which received high ratings and acclaimed awards for documentary filming. The film has been shown in over 80 countries throughout the world.

Dr Igor Kurilets and his like-minded colleagues have undertaken professional development training in various clinics in Great Britain, France, USA, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, and Poland.

Students of neurosurgery: H. H. Strutz, Y. P. Mayorov, A.S. Myzak, I.O. Nesterow, M.V. Valchuk, Y.M. Samonenko, A.V. Najda, I.V. Kovalenko, I.T. Moskaliuk, S.I. Balan, R.N. Abdulayev, and others.


  • Igor Kurilets
  • Henry Marsh