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Neurosurgery

Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute

Neurosurgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center combine the talents of world-renowned surgeons with those of nonsurgical experts and researchers, together offering the latest innovative treatments and comprehensive management of brain and spinal conditions, disorders, and injuries. 

UT Southwestern is among the nation’s top programs in cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery, one of the most rapidly advancing fields of medicine. We’re ranked as the top neurosurgery program in North Texas.

Experience, Collaboration, Innovation, and Excellence in Neurosurgery

Neurological surgeons at UT Southwestern are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating the full range of neurological conditions, from the common to the complex. 

Our neurosurgeons collaborate with specialists in neurology, neuro-oncology, interventional radiology, pathology, neurocritical care, and physical medicine and rehabilitation to offer excellence in the management of conditions such as:

Our expert, multidisciplinary teams are focused on providing compassionate care that addresses each patient’s specific needs.

Preparing for Surgery

UT Southwestern provides not only world-class surgical services, but also pre- and post-surgical care that optimizes each patient’s treatment and recovery. Our neurosurgeons meet with each patient a few days before surgery for a preoperative assessment. The surgeon will prescribe any prescriptions needed prior to the surgery, go over details, and address the patient’s questions and concerns. The neurosurgeon will advise the patient on:

  • What to expect before and after surgery
  • When to take any prescribed medications
  • When to eat the night before
  • When to arrive at the hospital

The neurosurgeon might send the patient to other physicians, such as the patient’s regular physician or a cardiologist, to make sure that patient is healthy enough for surgery and anesthesia. The tests these doctors might perform include:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Blood pressure
  • Electrocardiogram

Financial specialists are also available to go over patient questions about insurance coverage and billing.

Treatment Options

All neurosurgeries are performed at Zale Lipshy University Hospital. The hospital features all-private rooms, except in the intensive care unit. 

Treatment options for neurosurgical conditions vary, depending on the condition and the best way to access the area that needs treatment. Below are some of the different approaches used by UT Southwestern surgeons. 

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Despite having “surgery” in its name, stereotactic radiosurgery is a noninvasive technique in which high doses of radiation beams are delivered to a tumor or lesion in a concentrated, extremely precise manner. Many beams of radiation – more than 100 – can be directed at a tumor from different angles. The beams destroy the tumor or lesion but minimize risk to the surrounding healthy tissue. Each beam is weak and causes little damage when entering the body. 

Stereotactic therapy usually can be done on an outpatient basis. UT Southwestern uses several stereotactic technologies, such as:

  • CyberKnife
  • Gamma Knife
  • Perfection, a new technology that can treat more than one area of the body at a time

Endovascular Surgery

In these minimally invasive procedures, surgeons use image-guided technology to access certain areas by guiding small catheters through large blood vessels in the body. Neurosurgeons use endovascular surgery to insert balloons, stents, or coils in blood vessels or arteries. We use these techniques for many conditions, such as:

  • Sealing off an aneurysm
  • Opening blocked arteries of the neck
  • Treating vascular malformations

Open Surgery

Some conditions require traditional open surgery, which involves cutting into the head. Neurosurgeons cut a small flap of bone from the skull, open the brain coverings, and access the area of concern. Once the area is treated, the bone is replaced and the incision is closed. When open surgery is needed, neurosurgeons use the smallest incision possible. 

Rehabilitation

After surgery, patients recover in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (neuro ICU) at UT Southwestern, one of the world’s premier neurological diagnostic and treatment centers. The neuro ICU is equipped and designed to provide coordinated, compassionate care for patients with life-threatening neurological conditions. 

If needed, specialists from neuro-rehabilitation work with patients to help them recover function after surgery.

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