Pediatric Neurosurgical Service

Pediatric Neurosurgical Service

The Pediatric Neurosurgical Service, part of MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston, diagnoses and treats all neurosurgical conditions of infants, children and adolescents.
Request an appointment

Contact us: 617-643-9175 or 617-643-3399

After hours/weekends: 617-726-2000 (ask for pediatric neurosurgery resident on-call)


The Most Advanced Technology Available

At MassGeneral Hospital for Children, patients have full access to all technologies available at Massachusetts General Hospital. This enables your child’s care team to utilize the best tools for your child's specific needs, including advanced imaging, intraoperative MRI, stereotactic image-guided surgery, ultrasound and laser equipment, and expert intraoperative functional monitoring of the brain and spinal cord. Our goal is to provide the best team with the best technology in order to perform surgery as safely as possible on each child.

Family-Centered, Collaborative Care

Your pediatric neurosurgery team works with you and your child, and with many other specialists at MGHfC, to ensure that your child has everything he or she needs. We work closely with the following pediatric specialists, including:

  • Child neurology
  • Pediatric neuroradiology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Pediatric critical care medicine
  • Pediatric emergency medicine
  • Pediatric anesthesia
  • Pediatric imaging
  • Child psychiatry
  • Ethics
  • Child development
  • Social work
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Child behavior
  • Pediatric rehabilitation and
    other therapies (Physical,
    Occupational, Speech and language)
  • A full range of pediatric medical and surgical subspecialties

This team meets initially to explore all treatment options and then presents their recommendations to the parents and, when appropriate, the child. Every specialist describes the steps that his or her therapy involves. Once the course of action is agreed upon, the team continues to meet and make adjustments in treatment as warranted. The goal is to provide comprehensive care and effective outcomes.

Translating Advances in Adult Care to Help Children

MGHfC pediatric neurosurgeons work with their counterparts in pediatric and adult specialties to adapt research innovations in adult care to meet the unique demands of children's care. In this way, we are able to provide treatments, approaches and experience that are uniquely available at Mass General, including:

  • Proton beam therapy: Our patients have access to proton beam therapy through the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center, which directs radiation to the diseased tissue only and protects surrounding areas. Special protocols for young children ensure that they can receive this radiation treatment more safely, which is critical when long-term effects on growth and development must be considered very carefully
  • Epilepsy surgery:Research and technologic advances in localizing where seizures arise in the brain using advanced, non-invasive imaging, magnetoencephalography, and other techniques help children and families determine whether surgery might be helpful in managing epilepsy. Several research projects are ongoing as well using microelectrodes and other types of brain recording to advance the understanding and treatment of epilepsy in children for whom routine treatments haven’t fully controlled seizures
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS):Used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders in adults, DBS represents another area where interdisciplinary collaboration can lead to safe and effective translation of adult treatments into improved pediatric care. DBS works by providing a tiny focused amount of electrical stimulation to a specific part of the brain to allow malfunctioning brain circuits to work more normally. Children and adolescents with specific types of movement disorders and behavioral problems can be evaluated for treatment with these innovative approaches
  • Brain tumor screening: We have established a laboratory in which tumor specimens are genotyped, or evaluated for their genetic composition, to find specific types that are known to respond to existing drugs or that represent new targets for drug development. Routine screening for many cancers, including brain tumors, is already in place for adult patients. Genotyping in pediatric brain tumors could lead to similar advances in the treatment of children
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery: Mass General pioneered stereotactic radiosurgery for use in treating brain tumors and vascular malformations in children and adults. This focused radiation technique substantially decreases the amount of radiation to normal tissue in specific types of brain tumors or blood vessel abnormalities. Experts at Mass General have extensive experience using these approaches for children

Focus on Brain Recovery After Injury

The brain’s response to injury as a function of the brain’s maturity at the time of injury is a particular area of emphasis on the Pediatric Neurosurgical Service. In addition to basic science research, we are participating in several multicenter trials to study the brain's response to injury in patients of different ages during infancy and childhood.

Our clinical researchers are also participating in national studies designed to gather sophisticated data on traumatic brain injury from large numbers of adults and children. The information will ultimately be integrated into treatment trials for infants, children and adults with various types of traumatic brain injuries.

Finally, we partner with colleagues at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to provide children with the best tools available to help them recover.

About this Program

Dr. Duhaime (R)
Dr. Duhaime (R)

Treating a Full Range of Conditions

The pediatric neurosurgery team has special expertise in treatment of:

  • Hydrocephalus
  • Congenital anomalies of the spine and brain such as brain cysts, encephaloceles, Chiari malformations, syringomyelia, myelomeningoceles, spinal lipomas and tethered spinal cord
  • Pediatric brain and spinal cord tumor of all types
  • Vascular problems including arteriovenous malformations, aneurysms and moya-moya disease
  • Complex epilepsy requiring surgery
  • Craniosynostosis and other skull anomalies
  • Specific types of spasticity and movement disorders
  • Acute head and spinal cord injuries
  • Conditions more commonly occurring in adults, but presenting in children, are treated with a team approach which includes neurosurgeons from both the pediatric and adult neurosurgical services. In this way, patients benefit from a full range of surgical expertise, including transphenoidal, skull base, neurovascular and complex spine instrumentation approaches

Special Services for Families

At each stage of treatment—evaluation, team meeting, family meeting, surgery and follow-up care—we offer children and their parents emotional support and intensive education. We welcome families to participate in every aspect of the child’s care and encourage them to tell us their needs and those of their child.

To make the hospital experience as positive and comfortable as possible, we offer the usual amenities of a children's hospital, plus:

  • Rooming-in accommodations, including overnight stays adjacent to the Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units
  • Comprehensive, one-on-one education for the child and family
  • A back-up childcare center for the siblings of patients
  • A private surgical waiting area for patient families
  • Interpreter services for non-English speaking and hearing impaired patients
  • An International Patient and Family Center offering translation services, assistance with accommodations, financial information and a wide range of guest services
  • A 24-hour chapel, a pediatric chaplain and access to clergy of every faith
  • A family resource center containing the latest information about a wide variety of healthcare issues

Consultation and Collaboration

In keeping with our commitment to make our services easily accessible to the children and families we serve, our neurosurgical team can promptly answer questions and provide consultation for patients within our Partners network, nationally and worldwide.

In addition, MGHfC is one of only 10 facilities nationwide in the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, and is also a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, the primary North American Cooperative Group that develops clinical trials. As a result, our patients have quick access to innovative treatment of brain tumors.

Our pediatric neurosurgeons and nurses participate and hold leadership positions in multiple national and international organizations designed to share information and improve care and quality for patients with pediatric neurosurgical conditions.


Contact Us

Pediatric Neurosurgical Service

Wang Ambulatory Care Center 331

15 Parkman Street Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Phone: 617-643-9175
  • Fax: 617-726-7546

Alternate Phone Number: 617-643-3399


Request an appointment

Contact us: 617-643-9175 or 617-643-3399

After hours/weekends: 617-726-2000 (ask for pediatric neurosurgery resident on-call)

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