Charles Alfred Ballance

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Charles Alfred Ballance
Charles Alfred Ballance.jpg
Born 1856
Died 9 February 1936 (aged 79)[1]
Nationality England
Fields surgery
Known for otology

Charles Alfred Ballance (1856 – 9 February 1936) was an English surgeon who specialized in the fields of otology and neurotology.

For much of his professional life he was associated with St. Thomas' Hospital and National Hospital, Queen Square in London. He was the first president of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons, and was a colleague of famed surgeon Victor Horsley (1857–1916).

Ballance is remembered for his pioneer work involving nerve grafting and neurologic surgery. He is credited as being the first physician to perform a facial nerve to spinal accessory nerve anastomosis for treatment of facial palsy. He also did the first operation for complete removal of a cerebellopontine angle tumor, as well as being one of the first surgeons to perform a radical mastoidectomy with ligation of the jugular vein. Ballance is also remembered for successfully sectioning the vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve VIII) as a remedy for intractable vertigo.

Ballance published over 75 articles during his career, his best known work being the 1919 "Essays on the Surgery of the Temporal bone". Later in life, he was knighted as "Sir Charles Alfred Ballance" for his many contributions made in medicine.

In 1933, he was awarded the Lister Medal, and gave the associated Lister Memorial Lecture.[2] The lecture was titled 'On Nerve Surgery'.[3] It was published in 1933, dedicated "To the Memory of A.C.B.",[4] his son Alaric Charles Ballance, who had died in February of that year.[5] The book includes details of Ballance's work at three laboratories: the National Institute for Medical Research in Hampstead, the laboratories of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the 'Laurelwood Laboratory' in the USA.[4] The latter was a laboratory established at Laurelwood, the country residence of Arthur Baldwin Duel, near Pawling, New York.[6]

Associated eponym[edit]

  • Ballance's sign: Fixed dullness in the left flank, and shifting dullness in the right flank while the patient is lying on his left side. Associated with rupture of the spleen in abdominal trauma.


  1. ^ Elsberg, Charles A. (1936). "Obituary: Charles Alfred Ballance, 1856–1936". Bull N Y Acad Med. 12 (3): 146–149. PMC 1965919. 
  2. ^ "Dr. Harold Harris Elborough Scatliff". British medical journal 1 (3724): 961. 1932. PMC 2520824. PMID 20776865.  edit
  3. ^ Ballance, Sir Charles Alfred (1856–1936), The Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons, Volume 3, Page 36.
  4. ^ a b 'The Lister Memorial Lecture 1933, Sir Charles Ballance, D. C. Thomson, 1933
  5. ^ "A. C. BALLANCE, M.A., M.B., B.Ch". British medical journal 1 (3765): 394. 1933. PMC 2368112. PMID 20777408.  edit
  6. ^ "Lister Memorial Lecture". British medical journal 1 (3771): 669–70. 1933. PMC 2368309. PMID 20777489.  edit