Department of Neurosurgery Alan Cohen, MD, FACS, FAAP

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Alan Cohen Boston Children's Hospital

Alan Cohen, MD, FACS, FAAP   

Dr. Cohen is a fitting successor to Dr. Scott. A world-renowned leader in pediatric neurosurgery in his own right, he comes to Boston Children's from University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland, where he was chief of Pediatric Neurological Surgery and surgeon-in-chief.  

Dr. Cohen is beloved by his many patients for his genuine bedside manner, famed sense of humor and devotion to meeting the emotional needs of children and families, as well as delivering superb medical and surgical care.

Achievements at UH Rainbow Babies and Boston Children's Hospital


During his 17 years at UH Rainbow Babies and Boston Children's Hospital, Dr. Cohen built both an acclaimed pediatric neurosurgical program and a reputation for excellence in all corners.

  • He served as chief of Pediatric Neurological Surgery, surgeon-in-chief and holder of the Reinberger Chair in Pediatric Neurological Surgery.

  • Under his tutelage, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital has built and broadened the following neurosurgical initiatives:

    • Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery Center, employing blood conservation techniques, sparing sensitive tissue and significantly decreasing recovery periods for children with brain and spinal cord tumors and related conditions

    • Jennifer Ferchill Brain Tumor Center, bringing together expertise in diagnostics, neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, neurology and neuropsychology

    • Level IV Pediatric Epilepsy Center, providing comprehensive services, including medical and surgical solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric seizure disorders and associated syndromes

    • Spasticity Program, offering integrated medical, therapeutic and surgical treatments for patients based on a personalized care plan

    • Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, the only center of its kind in Northeast Ohio to specialize in the treatment of injured children suffering from head trauma


Innovative surgery


Commitment to minimally invasive neurosurgery

Dr. Cohen is an acclaimed expert in, and noted advocate for, minimally invasive neurosurgery:

  • While at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, he spearheaded the introduction of several new endoscopic and minimally invasive surgical tools.
  • He invented a new device called Smart Start® that enables minimally invasive brain dissection, earning a Research Innovation Award from the Institute for Pediatric Innovation.
  • He has published a wide range of articles, chapters and books about this critical discipline, and served as the first U.S. editor of the international journal Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery.
  • He has directed the American Association of Neurological Surgeons' national course on minimally invasive neurosurgery for the past 18 years.

In an effort to develop sophisticated new surgical instruments and safer surgical approaches, Dr. Cohen is building a new Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery Laboratory at Boston Children's. He has also established a research fellowship focusing on minimally invasive neurosurgery.


Leadership roles and honors


Dr. Cohen's many leadership positions and accolades include:


Research digest


Dr. Cohen's recent publications include the following:

Kunes J, Thompson GH, Manjila S, Poe-Kochert C, Cohen AR. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension following spinal deformity surgery in children. Neurosurgical Focus. 2011 Oct;31(4):E20.

Vogel TW, Manjila S, Cohen AR. Cranial neuroendoscopy: novel applications and next frontiers. Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences. 2011 Sep;55(3):243-57.

Huang MI, O'Riordan MA, Fitzenrider E, McDavid L, Cohen AR, Robinson S. Increased incidence of nonaccidental head trauma in infants associated with the economic recession. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. 2011 Aug;8(2):171-6.

Chim H, Manjila S, Cohen AR, Gosain AK. Molecular signaling in pathogenesis of craniosynostosis: the role of fibroblast growth factor and transforming growth factor-β. Neurosurgical Focus. 2011 Aug;31(2):E7. doi: 10.3171/2011.5.FOCUS1197.

Bahuleyan B, Omodon M, Robinson S, Cohen AR. Frameless stereotactic endoscope-assisted transoccipital hippocampal depth electrode placement: cadaveric demonstration of a new approach. Child's Nervous System. 2011 Aug;27(8):1317-20. Epub 2011 May 24.

Wang A, Cohen AR, Robinson S. The "swing-ding": a golf-related head injury in children. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. 2011 Jan;7(1):111-5.

View the complete list of publications.


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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.”
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