Neurology and Neurosurgery

 Dr. Keating measures little boy's head circumference; mother watches and smiles.

At Children’s National Hospital, our Neurology and Neurosurgery teams specialize in the full spectrum of neurological disorders including disease, trauma and malformation of the brain, spine or nervous system. Ranked #3 in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, our division is led by internationally recognized leaders who are experts in performing minimally invasive techniques:

  • Roger Packer, M.D., senior vice president of the Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine, is a world-renowned expert for his innovative work and leadership in the care of children with brain tumors.
  • William D. Gaillard, M.D., an international leader in epilepsy imaging, treatment and research, heads our pediatric epilepsy program, which is one of the largest in the United States.
  • Robert Keating, M.D., leads our neurosurgery team, which is one of the most experienced and well-regarded divisions in the United States. Dr. Keating is known for his work on tumors, Chiari malformations, craniofacial reconstruction, spinal dysraphism, spasticity and brachial plexus surgery.

Choosing Children’s National for Neurological Care

Our team of neurologists have specialized training in pediatric neurology and expertise in all aspects of pediatric neurologic care. We offer state-of-the-art imaging tests, conduct innovative research and perform the most advanced, minimally invasive neurosurgical techniques to treat the most complex neurological conditions. These minimally invasive techniques not only lead to safer and more effective care, but also result in significantly reduced recovery times.

We believe in a shared decision-making process when it comes to your child’s treatment and care. Parents are an essential part of our care team. We take the time to explain in detail the diagnostic tests and treatment options available to your child, and answer your questions so that you feel safe and comfortable with each step of your child’s treatment plan.

Our team offers your child:

  • Comprehensive Care

    We offer the highest level of specialized care for any diagnosis, with more than 44 pediatric neurologists and seven pediatric neurosurgeons (doctors who treat problems of the brain, spinal cord, nervous system and muscles). Our trained neurologists, who are part of the largest pediatric neurology team in the United States, offer extensive experience in epilepsy, neurophysiology, neurology in intensive care, neuro-oncology, neuromuscular conditions and neurofibromatosis.
  • Safety

    Experts at Children’s National are pioneers in intensive care neurology practices, which protect the brain health of our most medically sensitive patients. We take additional steps to create the safest possible environment for your child. 

    We are a Level 1 Surgery Center, a distinction that recognizes surgery centers that have improved surgical quality, prevented complications, reduced costs and saved lives. In addition, we create individualized treatment plans in collaboration with multiple medical specialists for every child and have exceptional outcomes for even the most rare and complex diseases and conditions. Whenever possible, we opt for minimally invasive surgical techniques that allow for quicker recovery, fewer complications and shorter hospital stays. 

  • Specialized Tests

    We are one of few programs in the United States with experience in nervous system function tests for children. We perform the latest and most advanced neurologic diagnostic testing, including:

    • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
    • Video electroencephalogram (vEEG)
    • Evoked potentials (EP) tests
    • Nerve conduction studies (NCS)
    • Electromyogram (EMG)
  • Neuroimaging Experience

    Our team includes nationally and internationally renowned radiologists who specialize in the diagnosis of neurological diseases. We use a reduced amount of radiation and still produce high quality images with the best equipment available, even if your child has difficulty staying still.

    Our advanced imaging tests include:

    • Computed tomography (CT) scan
    • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Positron emission tomography (PET)
    • Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
    • SWada (intra-carotid amobarbital) tests

    We were one of the first teams in the world to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during epilepsy procedures (intraoperative MRI or iMRI). iMRI helps us accurately target the areas of the brain responsible for seizures and protect healthy brain tissue, which helps your child achieve the best possible long-term results and reduces the need for additional operations. We also use advanced non-invasive neuroimaging techniques to ensure the most precise treatment possible.

  • Neurointerventional Radiology Program

    Led by Monica Pearl, M.D., our Neurointerventional Radiology Program offers treatment for all blood vessel-related conditions involving the brain, head and neck region, and the spine and spinal cord. Vascular conditions in the brain and spine can be some of the most difficult conditions to diagnose and treat. We now offer an innovative, minimally invasive solution at Children’s National. Utilizing the technology of very small catheters, our expert team is able to access parts of the brain that would normally be extremely difficult to reach or would require a more invasive surgery. 

    Conditions we treat include:

    • Intracranial AVMs (arteriovenous malformations)
    • Intracranial aneurysms
    • Intracranial arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs)
    • Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs)
    • Vein of Galen malformations
  • Neurosurgery Expertise

    The Children’s National Neurosurgery Division is consistently ranked among the top programs in the United States. We have obtained Level 1 Surgery Verification from the American College of Surgeons, a distinction that recognizes surgery centers that have improved surgical quality, prevented complications and worked to reduce healthcare costs and save lives. For epilepsy-related neurosurgery patients, our Comprehensive Pediatric Epilepsy Program is recognized by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers as a Level 4 epilepsy center, designating Children’s National as having the most specialized epilepsy care and innovative surgical techniques available.
  • Advanced Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery

    Our board-certified pediatric neurosurgeons bring decades of experience and a compassionate touch to each procedure. Your child can receive advanced neurosurgical treatments through our use of minimally invasive approaches to neurosurgery, including:

    Endoscopic brain surgery. We use pen-sized cameras and tiny instruments to carry out endoscopic procedures. Endoscopic brain surgery helps us remove brain tumors or access surgical areas in children with irregularly-shaped heads.

    Visualase® magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided laser ablation. Using targeted laser beams, Visualase® destroys abnormal brain tissues (lesions) that cause drug-resistant epilepsy. Ablation is safe and provides lasting relief from seizures.

    iMRI (1.5T intra-operative MRI). iMRI is especially helpful when we are removing specific areas of tissue, such as brain tumors. While still asleep, we wheel your child into an MRI machine right in the operating room to confirm we have completely removed the abnormal tissue.

    Deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation uses an implantable device to send continuous, low-level electrical impulses to areas deep within the brain. The impulses prevent the brain from firing abnormal signals that are linked to movement disorders and seizures.

    Laser ablation. Laser ablation is a minimally invasive neurosurgical technique that uses lasers to treat a variety of neurological diseases, including brain tumors. The lasers precisely target and destroy (ablate) diseased tissue or brain tumors. 

    ROSA robot for sEEg. Our robotic operating surgical assistant (ROSA) performs stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) to pinpoint the source of a child's seizures in their brain. By using ROSA's sophisticated software, we have the ability to perform surgery more precisely and quickly. Your child may be a good candidate for SEEG when their seizures are not responding well to other first line treatments.

    Responsive neurostimulation (RNS). RNS is an innovative epilepsy treatment that uses an implanted device to help prevent seizures before they begin.

    Hemispheric ablation for neonatal hemimegalencepahly. We perform hemispheric ablation for infants born with neonatal hemimegalencepahly, a condition characterized by a malformation of one of the brain’s hemispheres. Children born with this condition typically do not respond well to medications to control their seizures and therefore require ablation to remove or disconnect the area of the brain triggering the seizure. 

Expert Care for Neurological Conditions

Our team treats the full range of neurological diseases. Learn more about conditions we treat and the experts in the Neurology and Neurosurgery Divisions.

Contact Our Global Services Team

If your child needs treatment and care, our global services team can help set up a consultation. 

We're here to support you on your international care journey. We have been caring for international patients and their families for more than 20 years and will serve as your dedicated partner as you travel for care – setting up your medical appointments, recommending travel accommodations and lodging, and ensuring that your cultural and religious needs are being met.

For more information or to make an appointment contact us at +1-202-476-5778 or by email at globalservices@childrensnational.org.

If you are interested in your child becoming a Children’s National Hospital patient, please fill out our intake form.