Department of Neurosurgery

Instruction in neurological surgery begins with an introduction to the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system presented in the first-year course in neural sciences directed by the Department of Neuroscience, with the participation of the neurosurgery faculty. During the second year, the Department of Neurosurgery presents the course in diseases of the nervous system in conjunction with the departments of Neurology, Pathology & Immunology, Molecular Microbiology, Medicine and Pediatrics. The course emphasizes how knowledge derived from basic or clinical investigations leads to improvements in clinical care. During the third year, students may elect to participate in a two- or four-week neurosurgery clerkship that introduces them to the clinical care of patients with diseases of the nervous system. Neurosurgical faculty members work with the neurologists to provide lectures, demonstrations and teaching exercises involving patients with neurological diagnoses as part of the clinical medicine course. Students may elect to fulfill their neurology requirement by rotating on the neurosurgery service. Students may also choose neurosurgery as part of the surgical specialty rotations. Neurosurgical diagnosis, critical care, operative treatment and ethical issues in patient management are emphasized. During the fourth year, students may choose from several advanced electives, including clinical externships in neurosurgery and experiences in basic or clinical/translational research.

Neurosurgical Specialties

As members of one of the most comprehensive neurosurgical programs in both the region and the nation, Washington University neurosurgeons offer exceptional care in a variety of specialties.


The Department of Neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach for the treatment of all types of neurological tumors, including brain tumors, inoperable tumors, pituitary tumors, skull-base tumors and spine tumors. Depending on the type of tumor, our multidisciplinary team comprises ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists, radiation oncologists, neuroradiologists, neuroanesthesiologists, medical oncologists and other specialists.

Aneurysms and Cerebrovascular Disorders and Diseases

The multidisciplinary medical team focuses on the treatment of aneurysms, arteriovenous fistulas, arteriovenous malformations, carotid stenosis, cavernous malformations, moyamoya and stroke. It includes cerebrovascular surgeons, who perform microsurgical procedures, and interventional radiologists, who offer minimally invasive endovascular treatment options. We also have a team of critical care neurologists, who coordinate postprocedure care in a dedicated neurointensive care unit, as well as neurologists, who coordinate neurorehabilitation care at The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis.

Spine Injuries and Disorders

Washington University spinal neurosurgeons are recognized as national leaders in the treatment of disorders of the spine, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. We use a multidisciplinary approach to treating spinal diseases and disorders. The personalized care of each patient is emphasized. Where appropriate, spine patients receive comprehensive, collaborative care from both neurosurgeons and specialists in thoracic surgery; vascular surgery; ear, nose and throat surgery; medical oncology; radiation oncology; anesthesia; pain management; and physiatry.

Peripheral Nerves

Washington University neurosurgeons work with a multidisciplinary group of surgeons, neurologists and therapists to customize patient treatments to maximize functional outcomes. Washington University neurosurgeons have extensive expertise in advanced microsurgical reconstructive techniques and are on the forefront of new and innovative ways to improve patient outcomes.

Pediatric Neurosurgery

The entire spectrum of neurosurgical disorders in children is treated by pediatric neurosurgeons and physicians in related disciplines. Our pediatric neurosurgeons are also part of multidisciplinary teams that provide care in several specialized pediatric centers, including the brachial plexus center, the center for cerebral palsy spasticity, the neurofibromatosis clinic, the pediatric epilepsy center, the pediatric gamma knife program, the pediatric neuro-oncology program, and the spina bifida clinic.


Our neurosurgeons are nationally recognized for their care of patients with epilepsy as well as research in this field. They are part of a multidisciplinary team that works together to develop the optimal plan to help patients control or minimize their seizures. The Department of Neurosurgery offers care for both adults and children with medically intractable seizures; it provides a full range of surgical options for intractable epilepsy, including implantable seizure-control devices, resection of seizure foci, and vagal nerve stimulation.

Movement Disorders

The multidisciplinary team specializes in the treatment of movement disorders such as ataxia, catatonia, dystonia, essential tremor, Huntington's disease, myoclonus, Parkinson's disease, and Tourette's syndrome. For some patients with Parkinson's disease or essential tremor, medications are often inadequate to control disabling symptoms. These patients may benefit from stereotactic neurosurgical procedures to improve their function.

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