Moyamoya Disease Program Overview

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Contact the Moyamoya Disease Program

At Boston Children’s, our Moyamoya Disease Program provides the full spectrum of diagnostic, consultation, surgical and follow-up care services for children and adolescents with Moyamoya disease. Our neurosurgeons and other clinicians are considered some of the world's foremost experts on the disease, so you can rest assured that your child is in good hands with us.

Our Moyamoya Disease Program specialists not only have extensive experience in treating this rare and complex disease; they also have specialized training in all aspects of pediatric medicine and surgery. That means that our surgeons, specialists, nurses and other health professionals understand the particular needs and concerns of young patients and their families.

Follow patients Ryan and Tyler through their experiences with moyamoya disease and treatment at Boston Children's Hospital. Watch more moyamoya videos.

We collaborate with our expert colleagues across the hospital—from neurologists, radiologists and anesthesiologists to physical therapists, social workers and speech therapists—to devise a comprehensive treatment plan that is right for your child and family.

Our specialists also conduct essential Moyamoya disease research into its causes, development and treatment. Our research efforts include:

  • studying how blood vessels in the brain respond to Moyamoya disease and to surgical treatment
  • examining the alterations of blood flow in the brains of children with Moyamoya
  • determining how certain components of the blood and cerebrospinal fluid may influence the onset and progression of Moyamoya disease
  • new methods of diagnosing Moyamoya disease at an early stage noninvasively, before disabling strokes occur

Did you know? The practice of pediatric neurosurgery has roots at Boston Children's

In 1929, Boston Children's 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. Cushing and Ingraham, along with Donald Matson, MD, went on to write some of the most widely used and respected textbooks on pediatric neurosurgery, which are still considered required reading for aspiring neurosurgeons. Today, Boston Children's is one of the only pediatric hospitals in the world with full clinical programs devoted to rare illnesses like Moyamoya disease.

Boston Children's Moyamoya Treatment Program

Boston Children’s Hospital has a long and distinguished history of caring for children with complex diseases and disorders of the brain, spine and central nervous system. Our Department of Neurosurgery is regarded as an international leader in understanding and treating pediatric Moyamoya disease, a rare, life-threatening condition that causes a slowing of the blood flow to the brain.

The only treatment for Moyamoya disease that’s proven to be effective in the long-term is surgery. Boston Children's has pioneered a procedure that directly applies a healthy artery onto the affected area of a patient's brain. In 1985, R. Michael Scott, MD, Boston Children's Neurosurgeon-in-Chief, performed the first of these operations, a procedure known as pial synangiosis—which he developed—on a child with Moyamoya disease. Over the past 25 years, he and colleague Edward Smith, MD, have used pial synangiosis to treat more than 400 children with Moyamoya.

Caring for children and young adults

Here at Boston Children's, we treat patients of various ages; while the average age at which a child is diagnosed with Moyamoya is 7, children of all ages can develop the disease, as can adults. Some children with Moyamoya are also living with other medical conditions, like Down syndrome, sickle cell disease and neurofibromatosis, and our clinicians work closely with specialists throughout the hospital to deliver comprehensive, multidisciplinary care.

Moyamoya Disease News

Children with complex medical needs often seek care elsewhere

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports on Eleanor Cherry, a little girl who had a stroke the week before Thanksgiving and, in March, had surgery to fix the brain defect that caused the stroke, a rare malformation called moyamoya disease. Boston Children’s Ed Smith, MD, who performed the surgery, is mentioned in the article. 

As childhood strokes increase, surgeons aim to reduce risks

NPR’s “Morning Edition” features Boston Children’s Edward Smith, MD, in a story about Moyamoya and the journey of 13-year-old Boston Children’s patient Maribel Ramos.

Moyamoya Story on CBS 4 Boston

R. Michael Scott, MD, of Boston Children's Hospital treats Moyamoya patient with the surgery he pioneered.

Curbing stroke’s inflammatory damage: A new target

Stroke research at Boston Children's HospitalIn an ischemic stroke, accounting for nearly 90 percent of all stroke cases, it happens like this: When vessels supplying blood and oxygen to the brain are blocked by a narrowing or a clot, immune cells in the brain sense the low-oxygen conditions, suspect an invading organism and try to kill it by producing molecules known as reactive oxygen species or ROS’s.

These, unfortunately, have an inflammatory effect that actually damages the brain further, injuring and killing neurons.

“Stroke produces inflammation, and that’s one of the main things people have been after in trying to reduce stroke damage,” says David Clapham, MD, PhD, chief of the Basic Cardiovascular Research Laboratories at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Get in touch with the Moyamoya Disease Program at Boston Children's Hospital 
There are a number of ways to get in touch with us:

Boston Children’s is so much more than a hospital—it’s a community of researchers, clinicians, administrators, support staff, innovators, teachers, patients and families, all working together to make the impossible possible. ”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337