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Neurosurgical Services

Who We Are

The pediatric neurosurgery program at Kennedy Krieger Institute diagnoses and treats children with diseases and disorders of the brain and spinal cord. We offer individualized and coordinated care for a variety of disorders, including:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Complex movement disorders
  • Congenital malformations
  • Epilepsy
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Spina bifida
  • Tethered spinal cord
  • Traumatic brain injury

Neurosurgical assessments for the treatment of brachial plexus injuries and related peripheral nerve disorders are provided by the interdisciplinary Brachial Plexus Clinic  at Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Who We Serve

Working in coordination with other Kennedy Krieger clinics and programs, and in partnership with The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the neurosurgery program provides state-of-the-art surgical services for children and young adults with tumors, spinal deformities, shunts, spasticity, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy, with the goals of surgery being to:

  • Enhance function
  • Improve ability to perform activities of daily living
  • Improve balance, coordination and mobility
  • Improve seizure control
  • Prevent contractures
  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce spasticity

Establishing a correct diagnosis and treatment program is critical. To that end, the neurosurgery program will also evaluate patients whose parents or guardians are seeking a second opinion in order to make a more informed decision about options for their child’s care.

Our Team

Our interdisciplinary team includes pediatric specialists from the following areas:

  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Neurodevelopmental medicine
  • Neurogenetics
  • Nursing
  • Orthopedics
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation

We also work with other disciplines as needed, including occupational therapy and assistive technology. The team collaborates to develop an individualized treatment plan appropriate for each child’s age.

Our Approach

Neurosurgery may be appropriate for those no longer achieving optimal outcomes with medication or therapy. Before surgery, all patients receive an interdisciplinary assessment evaluating them for surgical options designed to improve quality of life. We offer a variety of neurosurgical interventions to aid in the management of cerebral palsy and other neurologicalconditions. These neurosurgical procedures can treat spasticity, complex movement disorders and drug-resistent epilepsy, and they include selective dorsal rhizotomy, baclofen pump placement and deep brain stimulation.

Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR): With selective dorsal rhizotomy, specific nerve fibers are eliminated to decrease spasticity. This procedure can improve your child’s ability to move.

Intrathecal Baclofen Pump: Baclofen is a medication used to decrease spasticity. For a baclofen pump placement, a pump is placed under the skin in the abdominal area with a catheter leading to the spinal canal. The pump continuously delivers baclofen in small doses directly into the spinal canal to reduce spasticity and improve comfort and function.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS): With deep brain stimulation, areas of the brain that produce unwanted signals are identified and treated with stimulation.

The surgery is performed at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, which is adjacent to Kennedy Krieger. Once your child is stable after surgery, inpatient rehabilitation may be recommended, and if so, your child will be transferred to Kennedy Krieger for that portion of recovery. Follow-up care will be provided by the team at Kennedy Krieger.


“Kennedy Krieger provided us with an opportunity unlike any other. The staff members were all fantastic—you can tell they love the kids and their jobs. We are very blessed and thankful for this opportunity.”

- Parent of a selective dorsal rhizotomy patient

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