Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery

The Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery, provides innovative surgical treatment for patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, essential multiple sclerosis tremor, dystonia and medically intractable epilepsy.

The Center, under the direction of Gordon H. Baltuch, MD, PhD, serves as a functional surgery center for the treatment of neurological disease and is an international training center for surgeons in the functional neurosurgery field. Currently, the main focus of the Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery is deep brain stimulation (DBS); however, vagal nerve stimulation and virtual surgeries are also being performed to further expand treatment and research in the field.

Along with Penn neuroradiology, Penn neurosurgeons are participating in a clinical trial that is testing a prototype system that conducts neurosurgery in virtual reality. Similar to a pilot simulator, surgeons perform the operation and face potential problems in virtual reality, before operating on the patient in real life. Penn is one of just a few centers worldwide participating in this trial.

The new neurosurgical procedures of deep brain stimulation and vagal nerve stimulation carry a concern of the ethics of performing procedures that affect brain activity. The Center's faculty is aware of these concerns and have partnered with Penn Bioethics to discuss the societal implications of these applications.