Celebrating 25 years of Neurosurgery at MD Anderson
Members of the Neurosurgery department provide the highest quality, state-of-the art care for patients with benign or malignant tumors affecting the central nervous system. Our team of world-renowned neurosurgeons dedicate their practice exclusively to the care of patients with brain or spine tumors.
Physicians in Neurosurgery perform more surgeries on patients with brain tumors than any hospital in the nation — nearly 1,000 surgeries each year — and provide a wide range of drug therapies that target abnormalities in tumor cells. Our surgeons also conduct approximately 200 spine surgeries each year on patients with complex spinal tumors, and take a multidisciplinary approach to care. Additionally, we perform about 600 stereotactic radiosurgery cases on brain tumors and more than 75 on spine tumors each year. Our neurosurgeons also perform more than 200 skull base tumor surgeries and nearly 100 pituitary tumor surgeries annually. Patients who choose MD Anderson for neurosurgery receive excellent, individualized and comprehensive care.
A specialized operating room with intraoperative computerized tomography (IOCT) opened in The Pavilion in spring 2016. Our spine surgeons helped design the IOCT suite, complete with a custom surgical table and mobile CT scanner that can move on rails to scan the patient in the operating position during surgery. The technology in this room allows our spine surgeons to operate with even better accuracy.
The Brainsuite® is a neurological operating room with a large bore Siemens Espree (1.5-tesla magnet) MRI and an image-guided management system to give surgeons an improved perspective on the progress of complex neurological surgeries. It is only one of two such systems in the state of Texas. The Brainsuite® can help reduce the need for patients to undergo additional surgeries.
Our neurosurgeons are developing and applying minimally invasive approaches to treating brain, spine and skull base tumors. These procedures produce optimal oncological outcomes and generally result in shorter hospital stays, less pain, quicker recoveries and less disruption to radiation or chemotherapy, compared to conventional surgery. They can provide an alternative for patients who are not good candidates for conventional surgery or have an inoperable tumor. Our minimally invasive treatments include:
With few or no incisions, the surgeon uses an endoscope to remove the tumors in the skull base and brain working via the nasal cavity and without making a large facial incision. The endoscopic approach can provide a better view of and access to hard-to-reach tumors at the base of the skull – and therefore, more effective removal of the tumor and with less morbidity than alternative approaches. Tumors treated with this approach include: meningiomas, chondrosarcomas, chordomas, carcinomas, sarcomas and many others.
Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a treatment performed by inserting a probe into the tumor and heating it to temperatures high enough to kill the tumor. The probe is placed using advanced computer imaging techniques. The surgeon monitors the heat levels through real-time MRI thermography (in our Brainsuite®) and precisely controls the thermal damage to just the tumor.
- Brain Tumors: Laser ablation provides an option for some patients with hard-to-reach, deep-seated or irregularly shaped brain tumors, including gliomas and metastases. It can also help patients who do not respond to radiation, cannot receive any more radiation or have developed radiation necrosis.
- Spine Tumors: Claudio Tatsui, M.D., has pioneered the use of laser ablation for spine tumors. MD Anderson is the first in the world to use this technique for metastatic spine tumors. Some spine tumors are not amenable to conventional surgical techniques and laser ablation offers another option. Most patients have a one or two-day hospital stay and little to no disruption to other treatments.
Minimally invasive spinal stabilization is done through one or more half-inch incisions, instead of one large incision and is used for traditional spinal stabilization. This technique is associated with less intraoperative blood loss, lower incidence of infection; the hospital stay is shorter and the functional recovery is faster.
Watch a video about the history of our department
The Neurosurgery and Neuro-Oncology departments at
MD Anderson run dozens of clinical trials for brain, spine and skull base tumors, including newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastoma.
We also have clinical trials for brain metastases and leptomeningeal disease.
Neurosurgical Oncology Fellowship
The Neurosurgery department offers four fellowship positions in neurosurgical oncology beginning July 1 of each year. The overall goal is to train young neurosurgeons to become academic neurosurgical oncologists who are highly skilled and knowledgeable surgeons.
Neurosurgery clinical faculty members are widely recognized for their expertise in primary and metastatic brain tumor surgery, pituitary adenoma surgery, skull base surgery, spinal reconstructive surgery, surgical procedures for pain management, pediatric neurosurgery and stereotactic surgery. The department performs over 1,900 brain, spine and skull base surgeries each year.
Learn more about the Neurosurgical Oncology Fellowship.
Neurosurgical Residency Program
Ganesh Rao, M.D., associate professor of Neurosurgery, serves as director of the Baylor College of Medicine Neurosurgery Residency Program. MD Anderson is one of five hospitals that receive residents from the program. It has a history as one of the largest and most respected neurosurgery training programs in the U.S. The residency program was founded and nationally accredited in 1958, and has been continuously funded and accredited ever since.
Learn more about the Baylor College of Medicine Neurosurgery Residency Program.
Academic Office: 713-792-2400
Brain and Spine Clinic: 713-792-6600
The Department of Neurosurgery is located on the 7th floor of the John Mendelsohn Faculty Center. Get customized directions using our Access system.
1400 Holcombe Boulevard
Room FC7.2000, Unit 442
Houston, TX 77030-4009
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Neurosurgery
P.O. Box 301402-442
Houston, TX 77230-1402