Among the Nation’s Top Neurosciences Programs
- Seattle Children’s neurology and neurosurgery programs consistently rank among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. We are ranked #1 in the Northwest in 2018, and among the top 10 nationwide.
- We have the Northwest’s only epilepsy program for children that is accredited level 4 by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC). A level 4 center uses the most advanced technology to diagnose epilepsy, evaluate patients and perform advanced surgeries. To help us recommend the right treatment, we monitor your child’s brain activity and video their behavior while they stay overnight in our special unit.
- Seattle Children’s is the only pediatric hospital in the Pacific Northwest – and one of only a handful of centers in the country – to offer laser ablation surgery for epilepsy and brain tumors.
- For children with conditions related to blood flow in the brain, we have the only Pediatric Vascular Neurology Program in the Pacific Northwest. It is led by Dr. Catherine Amlie-Lefond, a national leader in treatment of children who have strokes and other conditions affecting their blood vessels.
- We are the only provider in the Pacific Northwest to offer selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) to reduce spasticity in the legs. After surgery, our rehabilitation medicine specialists work with your family to help your child be more mobile and independent.
- Surgeons at Seattle Children’s do hundreds of surgeries on children and teens each year. Research shows that centers that do many procedures every year are more likely to have better results for their patients.
Specialists for All Your Child’s Needs
- It takes the skills of many different specialists to care for children with complex conditions affecting the nervous system. At Seattle Children’s, your child’s medical team may include neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists, neurodevelopmental pediatricians and rehabilitation medicine doctors. Every one of them has years of training and experience working with children and teens.
- Our team is experienced using advanced therapies to treat children with a broad range of disorders affecting the brain and spinal cord. Our treatment options include medicines; specialized surgeries; diets; and physical, occupational and speech therapy. For children with cancerous brain or spinal cord tumors, treatment also may include chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Seattle Children’s has the experts your child may need if their condition causes problems with other body systems, such as the heart. Our goal is to give your child or teen the best chance of a long and healthy life.
- We focus on your whole child, not just their disease. Your family has a full team behind you, taking care of your child’s medical, physical, learning, emotional and nutrition needs. We give your child personalized care, from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up.
Experts in Brain Surgery
- At Seattle Children’s, we have more pediatric neurosurgeons and neurosurgery nurse practitioners than any other hospital in the Pacific Northwest. Each pediatric neurosurgeon is trained to know the unique needs of babies, children and teens and to operate on their brains.
- When it comes to your child’s brain and nervous system, there’s no place for novices. We have the experience to do it right the first time, to handle the unexpected and to care for children with the rarest conditions.
- Every day, our neurosurgeons use state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose children and teens and to perform advanced surgeries. These include laser ablation surgery for epilepsy, endoscopic surgery for craniosynostosis and hydrocephalus, and stereotactic computer assisted navigation during surgery.
- Because of our high level of expertise, surgeons at other hospitals in the region call on us for consultations and refer or transfer children to us for care.
- We perform more neurosurgeries than any other children’s hospital in our region (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). More cases mean greater surgical expertise and a sharper ability to determine if surgery is even needed — and that adds up to better outcomes.
Making Surgery Easier on Your Child
- Imaging techniques like fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) help us map your child’s brain to protect the parts that control important functions like speech and movement. This makes our surgery safer for your child and more effective.
- We minimize radiation exposure when your child needs imaging studies. We have the region’s most advanced MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which does not use radiation at all. Our computed tomography (CT) scanners use the lowest possible amount of radiation to take pictures of your child’s brain or skull. In some cases we can use a “fast MRI” (called half-Fourier–acquisition single-shot turbo spin-echo or HASTE), which is much quicker than a typical MRI scan and does not require sedation.
- Wherever possible, we use minimally invasive procedures instead of traditional open surgery.
- Managing your child’s pain after surgery is critical to their healing. That’s why we use pain medicines made especially for children. We use regional anesthesia and alternatives like acupuncture when those methods will help your child.
Research to Improve Care and Cure Rates
- Our physician-scientists are studying which patients are most likely to be helped by laser ablation surgery. They are working on new imaging techniques to guide surgery for epilepsy. Learn about our epilepsy research.
- We are testing Tumor Paint as a way to help surgeons remove as much cancer as possible while sparing healthy brain tissue. Read more about brain tumor research using nanotechnology.
- Using 3-D models of a child’s brain before surgery and operating with “GPS guidance” has dramatically reduced the need for shunt revisions in children with hydrocephalus. Our researchers are creating a new kind of shunt to cut failure rates even more. Read about Seattle Children’s hydrocephalus research.
- Brain tissue donated by surgery patients is helping researchers learn about causes of Chiari malformation and find better ways to treat it. Read about our Chiari malformation research.
- Learn more about Seattle Children’s neurosciences research and clinical trials.
Support for Your Whole Family
- Our doctors have extra training and years of experience treating kids. We care for children and teens all day, every day – not just once in a while. This means everyone on our team has the experience and skills to make a real difference for your child.
- Child life specialists are important members of our team. They work with you and your child to help you relieve tension, ease fears and feel more in control about your family’s hospital experience.
- Every member of our team – from our appointment schedulers to our pediatric nurses – is specially trained to work with children and their families. Our facilities and equipment reflect this kid-friendly, family-centered approach.
- We work with many children and families from around the Northwest and beyond. Whether you live nearby or far away, we can help with financial counseling, schooling, housing, transportation, interpreter services and spiritual care. Read about our services for patients and families.
Here When You Need Us
- Seattle Children’s is the only hospital in the region with coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a pediatric neurosurgeon.
- If your child has urgent medical needs, we see them the same day in our clinic or emergency department. If needs are not urgent, we offer appointments for most conditions within 1 week.
- For your convenience, our doctors see patients at locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Federal Way, Olympia, the Tri-Cities, Wenatchee, Montana and Alaska.
- Children, teens and young adults who need surgery on their brain or spinal cord (neurosurgery) get care at our hospital campus in Seattle.
- See our locations and contact information.
SDR Surgery Helps Kids Gain Mobility and Independence
With spastic cerebral palsy, Arabelle struggled to walk even with a walker. Her stiff muscles made it hard for her mom to care for her. The Montana family came to Seattle Children’s for treatment that combines surgery (selective dorsal rhizotomy or SDR) with weeks of intense inpatient occupational and physical therapy. Read her story.
For more information, contact the Neurosciences Center at 206-987-2016.
If you would like an appointment or need a second opinion, ask your child’s primary care provider for a referral.
Providers, see how to refer a patient.