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Denis Browne

Publications by Sir Denis John Wolko Browne (1892-1967)

Sir Denis Browne, paediatric surgeon, was born at Toorak, Melbourne. He was educated privately in Melbourne and at Minembah before he boarded (1905-10) at The King's School, Parramatta. Awarded an exhibition to St Paul's College, University of Sydney (M.B., 1914); he excelled at tennis, shooting, billiards, golf and horsemanship.

In March 1915 he was appointed captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps, Australian Imperial Force. From September he was regimental medical officer with the 13th Light Horse Regiment at Gallipoli. Evacuated in November with typhoid fever, he was invalided to Australia. In August 1916 Browne arrived in France and next month was posted to the 12th Field Ambulance; he was promoted major in April 1917 and served on the Western Front until July 1918. That month he joined the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England. His exceptional surgical ability was noted and he was granted leave in 1919 to gain experience under the orthopaedic surgeon Sir Robert Jones at the Royal Southern Hospital, Liverpool. Browne resigned his A.I.F. commission on 28 December, then worked in the Middlesex and London hospitals.

A fellow (1922) of the Royal College of Surgeons, England, Browne became resident medical superintendent at The Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London. Consultant surgeon at Great Ormond Street from 1928, Browne was noted for his skill, his original thinking and for his many contributions to surgical literature. He devised a simple, sound technique for the repair of cleft palate and hare-lip, advocated 'controlled movement' in treating talipes and congenital dislocation of the hip, and clarified diagnosis of undescended testes and of imperforate anus. In addition, he was a pioneer of neonatal surgery who advocated the need for special skills in managing and nursing children. Fascinated by technique, he designed instruments for operating on babies and young children, and splints that allowed controlled movement. His tremendous technical skill sometimes distracted attention from his more important achievements.

As his experience and stature rapidly grew in and beyond Britain, Browne developed a worldwide reputation which attracted many young surgeons from the British Isles and from overseas to study in his clinic at Great Ormond Street. He travelled widely, lecturing and operating, he received honorary memberships of a number of professional societies and held Hunter professorships four times (1947, 1949-51). His contributions spanned the surgery of childhood, both in practical methods of treatment and in the causes of congenital abnormalities.

Browne was an imposing figure, always well dressed, and appeared somewhat haughty, but he was compassionate with children. His strong leadership resulted in the establishment of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons, of which he was foundation president in 1953-57. The association flourished and became a major forum for disseminating new ideas and for teaching surgery of the foetus, new born babies and children. The Denis Browne medal, the highest award of the association, was struck in his honour.

In 1957 Browne was awarded the Royal College of Surgeons' Dawson Williams prize and the American Academy of Pediatrics' William E. Ladd memorial medal. He retired from The Hospital for Sick Children that year, but continued to practise in Harley Street. In 1961 he was appointed K.C.V.O. and to the Légion d'honneur by the French government. In January 1967 he succeeded as president of the International College of Surgeons.

List of references

Note: Articles with an asterisk indicate copies are held in the Library (PP refers to Papers Published by Medical & Surgical Staff of the Hospital, held in the Librarian's Office).

(1) The surgical anatomy of the tonsil. J Anat. 1928; 63(1): 82-86.

(2) Improved forceps. Lancet. 1928; 2(5477): 332.

(3) An aid to operations on infants. Lancet. 1930; 2(5560): 624.

(4) *Treatment of empyema in children. Lancet. 1930; 2(5588): 733-738. [PP 3:55]

(5) *A method of blood transfusion with special reference to children. BMJ. 1931; 1(3658): 259-262. [PP 3:56]

(6) *The surgical anatomy of Rammstedt's operation. Arch Dis Child. 1931; 6(32): 129-135. [PP 3:57]

(7) *Congenital talipes equino-varus. BMJ. 1931; 2(3693): 696-699. [PP 3:58]

(8) The operation for cleft palate. Br J Surg. 1932; 20(77): 7-25.

(9) Some anatomical points in the operation for undescended testicle. Lancet. 1933; 1(5714): 460-464.

(10) Congenital malformations. Practitioner. 1933. 131:20-32

(11) Adenoid and tonsil operations. Lancet. 1934; 1(5764): 372

(12) *Talipes equino-varus. Lancet. 1934; 2(5801): 969-974. [PP 4:26]

(13) *Congenital deformities of the mouth. Practitioner. 1934; 132: 658-670. [PP 4:27]

(14) *A note on the x-ray examination of empyema cavities. BMJ. 1934; 2(3852): 807-808, 820. [PP 4:28]

(15) *Blood transfusion. In Thursfield H and Paterson D (Eds.) Diseases of children. 3rd ed. London: Arnold, 1934, pp.32-39. [Sandifer Cabinet]

(16) The Osteopaths Bill. Lancet. 1935; 1(5813): 231.

(17) The undescended testicle. Lancet. 1935; 2(5861): 1484.

(18) *An orthopaedic operation for cleft palate. BMJ. 1935; 2(3909): 1093-1095. [PP 4:29]

(19) Talipes equino-varus. Practitioner. 1935; 134: 525-537.

(20) [and Sharp BB] Renal dwarfism and glycosuria. Proc R Soc Med. 1935; 28: 669-70.

(21) *An operation for hypospadias. Lancet. 1936; 1(5864): 141-143. [PP 5:25]

(22) The undescended testicle. Lancet. 1936; 1(5864): 170.

(23) Congenital deformities of mechanical origin. Proc R Soc Med. 1936; 29(11): 1409-1431.

(24) Talipes equino-varus. Postgrad Med J. 1937; 13(144): 349-353.

(25) *The diagnosis of the undescended testicle. BMJ. 1938; 2(4046): 168-171. [PP 5:26]

(26) Imperfect descent of the testis. Lancet. 1938; 2(6012): 1200.

(27) *Congenital anomalies of the extremities. Practitioner. 1939; 142: 270-277. [PP 5:27]

(28) Hormone treatment of undescended testis. Lancet. 1940; 2(6115): 606.

(29) A national health service. The Fortnightly. April 1944.

(30) *[and Higgins TT, Bodian M] A penicillin-treated series of cases of osteomyelitis in childhood. BMJ. 1947; 1(4508), 757-761. PP 7:22.

(31) *Congenital deformities. In Moncrieff AA, Paterson D (Eds). Diseases of Children. 4th ed. London: Arnold, 1947. pp.17-33. [Moncrieff Cabinet]

(32) Infections of the cervical lymph glands. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting [of the] British Medical Association. London: Butterworth, 1949. p.19.

(33) The undescended testicle. Lancet. 1949; 1(6552): 543. 

(34) *Hypospadias. Postgrad Med J. 1949; 25(286): 367-373. [PP 8:21]

(35) The treatment of congenital dislocation of the hip. Proc R Soc Med. 1949; 41(6): 388-390.

(36) *[and Bodian M, Higgins TT, Stephens FD, Meyer R] Discussion on Hirschsprung's disease. Proc R Soc Med. 1949; 42(4): 227-228. PP 8:20.

(37) *An operation for hypospadias. Proc R Soc Med. 1949; 42(7): 466-468. [PP 8:21A]

(38) Treatment of undescended testicle. Proc R Soc Med. 1949; 42(9): 643-645.

(39) *Hare-lip. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1949; 5(3): 169-187. [PP 8:22]

(40) The time factor in the treatment of congenital abnormalities. Practitioner. 1949; 162:132-138.

(41) *Palate, cleft and hare-lip. In Rolleston H, Horder T (Eds). British Encyclopaedia of Medical Practice vol. 9. London: Butterworth, 1949. pp.373-383. [PP 8:23]

(42) Congenital dislocation of the hip. In Maingot RH (Ed.). Techniques of British Surgery. Philadelphia: W B Saunders, 1950. pp.571-578 (chapter 28)

(43) Talipes. In Maingot RH (Ed.). Techniques of British Surgery. Philadelphia: W B Saunders, 1950. pp.579-? (chapter 29)

(44) Hypospadias. In Maingot RH (Ed.). Techniques of British Surgery. Philadelphia: W B Saunders, 1950. pp.412-? (chapter 18)

(45) *Some congenital deformities of the rectum, anus, vagina and urethra. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1951; 8(3): 173-192. [PP 9:18]

(46) *Neo-natal intestinal obstruction. Proc R Soc Med. 1951; 44(7): 623-626. [PP 9:19]

(47) Congenital deformities. In Horder, Lord (Ed.) The British Encyclopaedia of General Practice. London: Butterworth, 1950-52.

(48) *Discussion on the treatment of congenital hypertropic pyloric stenosis. Proc R Soc Med. 1951; 44(12): 1055-1063. [PP 9:20]

(49) *Patent ductus arteriosus. Proc R Soc Med. 1952; 45(10): 719-722. [PP 10:14]

(50) *Abdominal hernia in childhood. BMJ. 1952; 2(4794): 1144-1146. [PP 10:13]

(51) A comparison of the Duplay and Denis Browne techniques for hypospadias operations. Surgery. 1953; 34(4): 787-798.

(52) Surgery of children's deformities. Med Illus. 1953; 7(5): 392-395.

(53) The management of abdominal operations in children. In Maingot R (Ed.) The Management of Abdominal Operations. London: H K Lewis, 1953. pp.1111-? (chapter 44).

(54) *Paediatric surgery. In Horder T (Ed.) British Encyclopaedia of Medical Practice & Medical Progress. London: Butterworth, 1953. pp.135-138. [PP 11:15]

(55) Talipes (p596), Palate, cleft and hare-lip (p373), Undescended testes (p34) In British Encyclopaedia of Medical Practice, Vol. 12. London: Butterworth, 1953.

(56) *Neonatal surgery. In Moncrieff AA, Evans P (Eds.) Diseases of Children. Vol. 1. 5th ed. London: Edward Arnold, 1953. pp.248-269. [Shelved in the Moncrieff Cabinet]

(57) Undescended testicles. BMJ. 1954; 1(4868): 987.

(58) [and Bodian M] Surgical treatment of acute osteitis in childhood. Lancet. 1954; 263(6821): 1081-1081.

(59) *Congenital deformities of mechanical origin. Arch Dis Child. 1955; 30(149): 37-41. [PP 13:21]

(60) *Congenital deformities of the anus and the rectum. Arch Dis Child. 1955; 30(149): 42-45. [PP 13:22]

(61) A headlight for general surgery. Lancet. 1956; 270(6909):191.

(62) *Congenital postural scoliosis. Proc R Soc Med. 1956; 49(7): 395-398. [PP 14:30]

(63) *Discussion of tuberculous cervical adenitis. Proc R Soc Med. 1956; 49(12): 969-974. [PP 14:29]

(64) *Splinting for controlled movement. Clin Orthop. 1956; 8: 91-102. [PP 14:28]

(65) Range of movement of testicle. BMJ. 1957; 1(5028): 1165-1165.

(66) *The pathology of congenital ring constrictions. Arch Dis Child. 1957; 32(166): 517-519. [PP 15:13]

(67) Joint contractures in children. Proc R Soc Med. 1957; 50(2): 69-70.

(68) Hypospadias. Acta Urol Belg. 1957; 25(1): 100-107.

(69) Undescended testicles. BMJ. 1958; 1(5086): 1541-1542.

(70) Congenital abnormalities of the anus. Proc R Soc Med. 1959; 52(Suppl): 106-107.

(71) The pathology and classification of talipes. Aust N Z J Surg. 1959; 29(?):85-91. 

(72) Symposium on rectal continence. Proc R Soc Med. 1959; 52(2): 85-86. 

(73) Notes on congenital dislocation of the hip. Riv Chir Pediatrica. 1959; 1:3-6.

(74) "Another place." [Report on a debate in the House of Lords on saving the Princess Louise Hospital for Children from being taken over.] Lancet. 1959; 1(7068): 358-360.

(75) The problem of Byron's lameness. Proc R Soc Med. 1960; 53(6): 440-442.

(76) Observations on the treatment of hypospadias. Trans Int Soc Plastic Surgeons. 1960; 370-375.

(77) Congenital deformity. BMJ. 1960; 2(5210): 1450-1451.

(78) Discussion on megacolon and megarectum with the emphasis on
conditions other than Hirschsprung's disease
. Proc R Soc Med. 1961; 54(12): 1055-6.
PubMed PMID: 13873744; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1870487.

(79) Stress effects in the epiphysis of the femoral head after reduction of congenital dislocation. Lancet. 1962; 1(7243): 1314-1315.

(80) Rigid joints and rigid minds. Lancet. 1962; 2(7256) 617-618.

(81) Vesico-vaginal fistula. BMJ. 1963; 1(5323): 119.

(82) Treatment of umbilical hernia. BMJ. 1963; 1(5342): 1411.

(83) Ring Constrictions [Summary]. Proc R Soc Med. 1963; 56(3): 159.

(84) *Foreword. In Webster R (Ed.) Congenital Malformations of the Rectum, Anus and Genito-Urinary Tracts. Edinburgh: E & S Livingstone, 1963. pp. vii-viii. [Copy held in West Cabinet]

(85) Early recognition of congenital deformities. Nurs Mirror. 1964; Jan 17: x.

(86) The classification of developmental defects. Lancet. 1964; 2():689.

(87) Pedunculated spina bifida cystica. Dev Med Child Neurol. 1965; 7: 295.

(88) Congenital postural scoliosis. BMJ. 1965; 2(5461): 565-6.

(89) Digest of a symposium on congenital deformities: male genitalia and
other deformities. Int Surg. 1966; 45(6): 608-10.

(90) Treatment of clubfoot. BMJ. 1966; 1(5498): 1298.

(91) *A mechanistic interpretation of certain malformations. In Woollam, DH (Ed.) Advances in Teratology, Vol. 2. London: Logos Press, 1968. [Volume shelved in UCL Store]

(92) Infantile scoliosis. Clin Proc Child Hosp Dist Columbia. 1969; 25(6): 157-77.

Obituaries

BMJ 21 Jan 1967, pp.178-179; 25 Feb 1967, p.508.

The Times, 27 Jan 1967

*Nixon HH et al (Eds.) Selected Writings of Sir Denis Browne. London: Trustees of the Sir Denis Browne Memorial trust, 1983. [Shelved in the Besser Collection NIX]