Babu G. Welch, M.D., combines exceptional expertise in neurosurgical innovation and advanced technology to treat patients presenting with life-threatening issues that affect blood vessels in the neck and brain. He takes pride in offering a comprehensive range of treatment options, taking into consideration both the pathological process and lifestyle of the individual. These cerebrovascular disorders range from straight-forward cases to highly complex situations – including aneurysms, stroke, dural arteriovenous fistulae (DAVF), carotid disease, and arteriorvenous malformations (AVM).
As a leader in state-of-the-art microsurgical techniques, Dr. Welch is committed to offering patients options that minimize disruption to the brain and reduce recovery times. This includes evolving treatments like endovascular neurosurgery (also known as interventional neuroradiology). Many lesions can be treated from inside of the brain using detachable coils or newer flow diversion devices, glues designed for the blood vessel.
"Because of our depth of experience with newer neurosurgical and endovascular procedures, options considered complex by many neurosurgeons are performed much more routinely at UT Southwestern than other hospitals in North Texas."
Dr. Welch serves as the Medical Director of the UT Southwestern Neurosurgery Ambulatory Clinic and Co-Director of the Paul M. Bass Center for Neurosurgical Innovation. In addition, he is the Director of the UT Southwestern Microvascular Laboratory, where he instructs neurosurgery residents on approaches to skull base treatments and microvascular techniques.
He has been at the forefront in the use of endovascular surgery in the treatment of stroke. Dr. Welch says endovascular neurosurgeons can effectively open vessels in the neck and brain to restore blood flow within minutes, with access through the artery in the leg.
“Craniotomies (surgery to open the skull) are still an effective way to treat brain aneurysms. However, they are no longer the only viable approach,” Dr. Welch says. “Less invasive surgeries can achieve the same or better outcomes, depending on the patient’s needs and medical history.”
As an example, he recommended endovascular coil embolization to a patient with a life-threatening 8 mm aneurysm pressing against her optic nerve. Dr. Welch used a catheter placed through the patient’s groin and then from her aorta into her brain. The aneurysm was successfully packed with very fine platinum coils, and a metal stent was inserted to keep the coils in place. The patient was released from UT Southwestern the day after her surgery. She was able to return to everyday tasks within a week. This was a minimally invasive approach. By contrast, a craniotomy would have resulted in a hospital stay of at least three days, with a four-to-six week recovery period.
As part of UT Southwestern Neurosurgery’s internationally recognized team of physicians, Dr. Welch strongly advocates a multidisciplinary approach to care. He says patients benefit from having neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuroradiologists, and other health care professionals focused on complete care and the establishment of optimal treatment plans.
“The collaboration extends to physicians that refer their patients to UT Southwestern. When physicians refer patients to our team, we keep them abreast of the patient’s evaluation, treatment, and progress. This is key to the patient’s long-term success,” Dr. Welch says.
Dr. Welch’s academic pursuits include the evaluation of emerging technologies to advance neurosurgical therapies. This includes newer “flow diversion” technology, a less invasive treatment for aneurysms, including those that may have been considered inoperable in the past. Based on Dr. Welch’s work, UT Southwestern Neurosurgery has become the only center in North Texas participating in this groundbreaking study, and one of 15 in the United States. In addition, he has led a collaboration to evaluate a revolutionary laser technique for cerebrovascular bypass surgery with the Utrecht Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands, since 2008. His efforts made UT Southwestern one of only three sites in the U.S. that contributed to this study.