Pediatric Neurosurgery
Treatments and Services


Neurosurgeries take place in our BrainSUITE, which offers the most sophisticated equipment available for pediatric neurosurgery. Here, surgeons use advanced technology to create precise, three-dimensional maps of the brain and tailor their approach to each patient, minimizing trauma to surrounding areas of the brain that control speech, movement and other vital functions. As a result, we’re able to treat patients whose conditions were previously considered inoperable.

Baclofen Pump Implantation

Baclofen is a medication that acts on the central nervous system to relax muscles. A device called a baclofen pump delivers the medicine directly to the target site in the spinal cord.

Decompression Surgery

For children having symptoms of and who have been diagnosed with Chiari malformations, the treatment is decompression surgery to create more space for the brain and spinal cord.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is used to treat tremors and dystonia (movement disorders) that sometimes occur when a child has a cerebrovascular disease such as chronic stroke or arteriovenous malformation.

Performed by a neurosurgeon, this minimally invasive procedure involves placing a stimulation electrode on abnormal brain tissue in order to alter its function, control tremors and improve movement. DBS is reversible and adjustable, and does not destroy the area of brain tissue but stimulates it instead. Our neurosurgeons perform this procedure using intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging, which provides real-time guidance during surgery.

Only a small number of medical centers specialize in providing a comprehensive DBS program for children and adolescents. Our team collaborates with specialists at the Cincinnati Children’s Movement Disorders Clinic to ensure that children receive comprehensive care before and after the implant surgery.

Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy is a surgical procedure offered to children and adults diagnosed with obstructive or non-communicating hydrocephalus.


A reservoir (rez-er-vwar) is a tube used to remove extra fluid from the ventricles in the brain.

Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR)

Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) involves identifying the small nerve roots (“nerve rootlets”) coming into the spinal cord from the leg muscles, and severing the ones that are contributing to spasticity. This interrupts the abnormal circuit of nerve impulses that are keeping the muscles tight.


A shunt is a tube that drains the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the ventricles in the brain to another space in the body, which reabsorbs the fluid.

Shunt Malfunction Signs

Shunt malfunction signs include headaches, vomiting, sleepiness and more.

We collaborate with programs across the hospital to provide expert neurosurgical care when needed. Programs we work with include the Brain and Spine Tumor Center, the Cincinnati Fetal Care Center, the Movement Disorders Clinic and more.


Brain and Spine Tumor Center

When surgery is necessary, we work closely with the Brain and Spine Tumor Center to provide expert care. Our experienced neurosurgeons use sophisticated techniques to remove tumors in even the most difficult-to-access locations. These include the deep structures of the brain, such as the thalamus, and tumors involving the very sensitive tissues of the spinal cord.

Cerebrovascular Disease and Stroke Center

The Cerebrovascular Disease and Stroke Center provides expert, multidisciplinary care for children with conditions affecting the blood vessels in and around the brain and spine.

Cervical Spine Clinic

The Cervical Spine Clinic is for children and teens with rare and complex cervical spine conditions. When you come here for care, you’ll benefit from highly skilled specialists, innovative surgical techniques and the latest technology.

Chiari Malformations

Patients with a Chiari malformation travel to Cincinnati Children’s from all over the country to receive care from our experienced team of pediatric specialists.

In the last five years, we have evaluated more than 700 children with a Chiari malformation. Our goal is to help each patient live a normal life without restrictions. The majority of our patients achieve this goal, thanks in large part to our multidisciplinary approach, the expertise and experience of our physicians, and careful, long-term follow-up care.

Cincinnati Fetal Care Center

Some babies who are diagnosed with spina bifida (myelomeningocele) during pregnancy can undergo fetal surgery to repair the defect. The Cincinnati Fetal Care Center is one of only a very few facilities in the country offering this surgery.

Epilepsy Surgery Program

Our Epilepsy Surgery Program provides the diagnostic and surgical expertise to treat complex cases of intractable epilepsy. Our team is dedicated to dramatically reducing the severity and occurrence of seizures and, when possible, eliminating them altogether.

Movement Disorders Clinic

Our neurosurgeons are specifically trained in the evaluation, and advanced medical and surgical treatment of pediatric movement disorders. In collaboration with the Movement Disorders Clinic, we treat patients with tremors, dystonia and other movement disorders.

Surgical Spasticity Clinic

The Surgical Spasticity Clinic is a “one stop shop” for families who want to explore surgical solutions for their child’s spasticity. Our experienced, multidisciplinary team provides a thorough evaluation, two different surgical options and long-term follow-up care.