Neurosurgery

When any portion of your child’s nervous system is damaged through disease or injury, the entire body may be affected. Because the brain, spinal cord and nerves cannot repair themselves, it is important the neurologic problems be treated as soon as possible before damage becomes irreversible.

The neurosurgeons at Children’s are committed to expertise in the surgical treatment of infants and children, including the development of innovative new therapies and surgical support services.

Neurologic disorders we treat surgically

The neurologists in the Neurosurgical Program at Children’s work with a variety of specialists including psychiatrists (rehab physicians), pulmonologists, physical and occupational therapists, cardiologists, genetics counselors, orthopedic specialists, physician assistants, nurses, social workers and mobility experts, all to give your child the most comprehensive surgical care available.

Our specialists treat a full range of neurologic disorders, including:

  • Arachnoid cysts – fluid-filled bubbles that may form near the brain
  • Brain and spinal cord tumors – abnormal growths on the brain and/or spinal cord
  • Chiari malformation – structural problems at the back of the head with the part of the brain that controls balance
  • Craniosynostosis and other craniofacial syndromes – spaces between the bones of the skull close early, halting growth
  • Disease of the spine
  • Epilepsy – seizure disorder
  • Head and spine trauma – injury to the head and/or spine
  • Hydrocephalus – “water on the brain”, which causes swelling
  • Movement disorders – unwanted movements
  • Neonatal hemorrhages – bleeding in newborns
  • Neurofibromatosis– an inherited condition involving abnormal growths
  • Peripheral nerve disorders – problems which involve the nerve that connect the spinal cord to the rest of the body
  • Spasticity – unusual tightening of muscles, such as in cerebral palsy.
  • Spina bifida, tethered cord and other congenital spine anomalies – disorders where the spinal cord and spine fail to develop properly
  • Vascular malformations of the brain and other cerebrovascular disease- problems involving blood flow and the brain like PHACE syndrome
  • Complex craniofacial syndromes – problems that involve multiple symptoms related to the face and/or skull
  • Craniomaxillofacial trauma – injury to the face and/or skull

Diagnosis & treatment 

Neurosurgical care at Children’s can begin before birth. We offer prenatal counseling and neonatal consultation for parents who expect a child with neurologic challenges.

Once your child is born, we conduct a physical examination that includes testing reflexes, muscle strength, eye and mouth movements, alertness and coordination.

Depending on the origin and location of your child’s neurologic problem, we may perform blood tests, a spinal tap, specialized DNA tests, pediatric EMG/NCV and/or remove a small amount (biopsy) of effected nerves and muscles for direct examination.

Our neurosurgery specialists work with other team members from the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center to offer specialized surgical care. We pair traditional treatments like medication and physical therapy with orthopedic interventions, cranial orthotic treatments, vagal nerve stimulation, intrathecal baclofen or shunt implantation, removal of tumors, minimally invasive endoscopic, stereotactic and microsurgery.

Often there is no cure for brain, spinal or nerve damage, but Children’s caring and experienced surgeons and staff can help restore the maximum possible use and slow or halt progressive damage. Complementary treatments may include physical therapy and rehabilitation or orthopedic surgery. Specialists in our award-winning scoliosis and epilepsy programs are also available to consult or treat, as needed. Children’s also offers psychological counseling to help your child adjust to these changes.

We are proud to be involved with the Level One Pediatric Trauma Center for neurotrauma. The neurosurgeons at Children’s share their experience and expertise by providing consults for Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Units across the region.