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Neurosurgery Program

UCSF's Pediatric Neurosurgery Program provides expert evaluation and surgical care for infants, children and teens with brain or spinal cord disorders. Our group performs hundreds of surgeries each year.

Recognizing the complexities of these conditions, we take a team approach to each child's treatment. Our neurosurgeons work closely with pediatric and neonatal critical care doctors, specially trained nurses and pediatric anesthesiologists. In some cases, we also collaborate with other specialists, such as orthopedic surgeons or physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors, to ensure the best outcome for each patient.

Our facilities were designed for kids, with special equipment to suit the small bodies of infants and children. We use state-of-the-art surgical technologies and techniques to make procedures safer and more precise. These include intraoperative MRI scanning, advanced "neuronavigation" software and brain mapping. Our equipment allows us to perform minimally invasive procedures, when possible. We also offer painless targeted radiation therapy using the CyberKnife and Gamma Knife.

Our department is home to several research labs that study the underlying causes of pediatric brain tumors, epilepsy and movement disorders, as well as potential new treatments for them. Interested families may have the option to join a clinical trial, a study of a promising therapy using human volunteers.

The patient research and advocacy group Alliance to Cure Cavernous Malformation has named our program a center of excellence in recognition of the high-quality care our diverse team of specialists provides for cavernous malformations.

What sets us apart

Exceptional care at the Pediatric Brain Center

Learn about UCSF’s leading-edge treatments, personalized care and highly skilled, compassionate providers.

Our locations (8)

    Awards & recognition

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    • One of the nation's best in neurology & neurosurgery

    • in NIH funding among U.S. neurology programs

    Plan your visit

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your child's condition
    • List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    For visitors

    Before you head to the hospital, check out our guidelines for visitors and caregivers.


    Your Stay

    We offer valuable information to help you plan for your child's upcoming hospital stay. Find out about food services, family accommodations and more.

    Learn more

    Preparing for Your Child's Surgery

    If your child is having surgery, there are many details about how to prepare, what to bring, and what to expect during and after surgery. Learn more.

    Learn more

    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Learn more

    Patient stories

    Surgery provides a "durable cure" for child's brain bleed

    Bobby Stallworth couldn't talk or move his right arm and leg after an arteriovenous malformation (an abnormal tangle of blood vessels) ruptured in his brain. His family turned to UCSF for state-of-the-art surgical care.

    Florida boy travels 3,000 miles for lifesaving AVM surgery

    When malformed blood vessels ruptured in a delicate part of Gio Perry's brainstem, local doctors wouldn't operate. Our neurosurgeons did.

    Thriving with hydrocephalus

    When Brock Albee was 3 years old, a scary accident at day care led to a diagnosis of hydrocephalus, a fluid buildup in the brain. UCSF doctors have been treating him for more than 20 years and counting – with amazing results.

    Support services

    Child Life Services

    Activity rooms, pet therapy and more to help kids feel at home.

    Child Life

    Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.

    Family Amenities

    Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.


    Social Services

    Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.


    Activity Rooms

    Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.


    Art Therapy

    Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.


    Music Therapy Program

    Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.


    School Program

    Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.


    School Re-Entry Program

    We help kids return to school after hospitalization by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.


    Individual Playtime & Instruction

    If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.


    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Family Resource Center

    We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.


    Parent Support Program

    Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.


    Patient Relations

    Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.


    Spiritual Care

    Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.


    International Services

    If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.

    Smell the roses

    Wander outside into our Butterfly Garden in Oakland and our healing gardens at Mission Bay.