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Format: 04/21/2014
Format: 04/21/2014


AGH Pioneer Surgeon Peter J. Jannetta, M.D., To Receive Distinguished Medal of Honor from the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

The World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies announced today that Peter J. Jannetta, M.D., vice-chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), will be awarded its distinguished Medal of Honor in recognition of his vast contributions to the advancement of medicine. 

The Medal of Honor will be presented to Dr. Jannetta at the Federation’s annual meeting in Boston on August 30, 2009.

Considered one of the world’s preeminent neurosurgical pioneers, Dr. Jannetta’s groundbreaking research into the pathology and treatment of cranial nerve compression syndromes is widely regarded as one of the most important modern day breakthroughs in the field of neurological disease. Compression of cranial nerves can lead to debilitating illnesses that affect sensation and motor function of the tongue, eyes and facial muscles.

The most prominent cranial nerve compression syndrome is called trigeminal neuralgia (TN), a condition of chronic, often incapacitating facial pain. After identifying the cause of TN as compression of the fifth cranial nerve – the trigeminal nerve – by surrounding blood vessels, Dr. Jannetta developed a microvascular decompression procedure that has become the standard of surgical care worldwide.

The author of more than 400 scientific articles, abstracts and book chapters, Dr. Jannetta has earned several of his field’s most prestigious awards.

In 1983, he became one of the first neurosurgeons in the world to receive the Olivecrona Award, named after one of the fathers of modern neurosurgery. Presented by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, home of the Nobel Prize Foundation, the award has been presented to just 18 neurosurgeons in its 29-year history.

In 2000, he was awarded the Fedor Krause Medal by the German Neurosurgical Society. Considered a top honor in the field, the medal is bestowed to physicians who have made significant contributions to medicine. Two years later, he received the Dr. Fritz Erler Award by Friedrich Alexander University and in 2006, he was awarded the Zulch Prize for medical research by the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science.

Over the past 30 years, more than 150 neurosurgeons have received their training under Dr. Jannetta, including many who have gone on to become national and international leaders in the field.

“Dr. Jannetta’s credentials are impeccable. His remarkable career as a surgeon, teacher and humanitarian have left an indelible mark on all those who have had the opportunity to work with and learn from him. Most importantly, his brilliance in the operating room and in the laboratory has had a profound impact on the lives of so many people who have benefited from the healing touch of his pioneering work. We are deeply honored to bestow this Medal to Dr. Jannetta for all of his wonderful accomplishments and for the significant contributions that he continues to make,” said Edward R. Laws, M.D., FACS, chair of the Medal of Honor Committee for the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies and Director of the NeuroEndocrine/Pituitary Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Jannetta’s ongoing scientific pursuits include research into the role of vascular compression in essential hypertension – the most common form of high blood pressure – various other cardiac abnormalities and certain blood chemical disturbances.

“I am extremely honored to accept this award from such a respected scientific organization. What this recognition truly means is that my work has had a positive impact on the lives of people. Everything that I have accomplished in medicine I owe to the patients who have entrusted me with their well-being. They are the true pioneers in this story. That is what humbles me and what continues to inspire my dedication and drive to break additional clinical boundaries,” Dr. Jannetta said.


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