Department of Neurosurgery

Penn Neurosurgery's renowned research centers offer hope to those with neurological conditions ranging from the full spectrum of movement disorders to traumatic brain injury.

Penn Neurosurgery's renowned research centers bring hope to patients with conditions ranging from brain injury to Parkinson’s disease. Pioneering research performed at internationally recognized facilities is one of the many reasons that Penn Medicine’s department of neurosurgery receives more than $3 million annually in research funding.

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. Currently, the main focus of the Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery is deep brain stimulation. We provide 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.

Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair

The Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair (previously the Head Injury Center) is one of only five National Institutes of Health-designated brain injury centers nationwide. Working in a highly collaborative environment, researchers are studying ways to significantly improve the quality of life for people suffering from traumatic brain injury and to prevent the "secondary" or delayed injuries initiated by brain trauma. Today there are no treatments available to halt the progressive damage initiated by brain trauma. Yet there is hope, based largely on exciting, groundbreaking research at the Center.

More than 20 principal investigators and their research personnel form the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair. They represent a diversity of disciplines that span:

  • Bioengineering
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Neuroradiology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmacology
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

The CBIR team is one of the strongest, most integrated research teams in the world. Working in a highly collaborative environment, researchers are studying ways to significantly improve the quality of life for people suffering from traumatic brain injury and to prevent the "secondary" or delayed injuries that are initiated by brain trauma.
Learn more about Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair
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