Department of Neurosurgery Innovations and Research

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Our approach

When you come to Children’s Hospital Boston’s Neurosurgery Department, you’ll meet experienced neurosurgeons who are extensively familiar with children’s developing brains and specially trained to perform precise surgeries that minimize impact on healthy, surrounding tissue.

Our team is always looking for ways to improve brain surgery and make the experience easier for children and their families. Our breakthroughs—taking place in our clinics, as well as in our basic science laboratories—play a critical role in your child’s health. We are continually developing and refining minimally invasive techniques as alternatives to traditional brain and spinal cord surgeries.

Our team is also actively involved in research projects to improve understanding of why brain diseases occur, and to help develop better methods of early detection to ensure that these conditions have as little impact as possible on a child’s developing brain.



High-tech imaging that optimizes brain surgeries

MRI at Boston Children's HospitalFor complex conditions like brain and spinal cord tumors and intractable epilepsy, surgery is a key part of treatment. Numerous studies have shown that the more precise the surgery, the better the child’s outcome. In 2005, Children’s became the first pediatric hospital to have a full-sized Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine as part of an operating room. Our intraoperative MR allows neurosurgeons to bring the magnet out from behind doors and take images before, during and after an operation. Using these images, surgeons can determine if additional tissue should be removed while the child is still on the operating table. Doctors can then obtain the most complete tissue resection possible while minimizing damage to healthy, developing tissue.




Minimally invasive procedures that change the practice of brain surgery

To reduce the impact of brain surgery on a child's health and recovery process, our neurosurgeons use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. These techniques, which involve smaller incisions than are used in traditional surgeries, allow doctors to reach tissue in even the most inaccessible parts of the brain, spine and nervous system. Our expertise using these techniques and procedures often results in significantly reduced recovery times and fewer complications for our young patients.

Combining resources to help brain-injured children master motor skills

Our Department of Neurosurgery sees many children who have sustained brain injuries early in life. Boston Children's Neuromotor Therapy Program brings together neurosurgeons and other specialists throughout the hospital to craft customized treatment plans that help brain-injured children increase strength and mobility and enhance gait, hand function and language skills. Our specialists will work closely with your family to determine which medications, surgical procedures and support services will best serve your child’s individual needs.




Innovative History at Boston Children's HospitalIn 1929, Boston Children's Hospital physicians Harvey Cushing, MD, and Franc Ingraham, MD, established the Department of Neurosurgery at the hospital—marking the introduction of pediatric neurosurgery as a formally recognized field.

By their personal example, Cushing and Ingraham encouraged an institutional culture of rigorous observation, meticulous surgical technique and persistent innovation, combined with a continuing emphasis on teaching and publication. That culture thrives in our Department of Neurosurgery to this day.

Today, Boston Children's continues to attract the most accomplished neurosurgeons and promising neurosurgical residents to pursue their research and practice in this challenging environment.


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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO