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Neurological Surgery: About Us

The Department of Neurosurgery treats adult and pediatric patients with disorders of the nervous system, brain, meninges, skull, and blood supply, the extracranial carotid and vertebral arteries - aneurysms and AVMs; brain tumors, disorders of the pituitary gland, disorders of the spinal cord, meninges, and vertebral column, including those which may require treatment by spinal fusion or instrumentation; and disorders of the cranial, spinal and peripheral nerves.

A full range of minimally invasive and traditional spine surgeries are offered including the following procedures, which are available with minimally invasive techniques:
  • Thorascopic discectomy for spinal cord compression
  • Percutaneous lumbar discectomy
  • Minimally invasive posterior lumbar fusion
  • Minimally invasive lateral, transpsoas lumbar fusion

  • The minimally invasive spine surgery techniques significantly reduce a patient's recovery time, length of hospital stay (often less than 24 hours), blood loss and pain associated with traditional open surgery. These new techniques are ideal for those patients who are reluctant to undergo standard spine surgery due to the fear of a long and painful recovery.

    (314) 362-3570
    FROM 8:30 A.M. TO 4:30 P.M. (CST) MONDAY – FRIDAY

    (314) 454-2810
    FROM 8:00 A.M. TO 5:00 P.M. (CST) MONDAY – FRIDAY

    Patients must be referred by their primary care physician, internist or other specialist. What Patients Should Expect

    U.S. News and World Report currently ranks Washington University School of Medicine among the top four medical schools in the nation. The magazine also ranks Barnes-Jewish Hospital's Department of Neurosurgery as the best in Missouri and among the top 10 in the country. Click here to go to Pediatric Neurosurgery

    In conjunction with with Washington University neurologists and neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons treat the full range of neurovascular disorders. Typical conditions treated include:

    Our neurosurgical specialties include:

    • Cavitron, a surgical device that disintegrates and aspirates brain tumors
    • Cerebrovascular surgery
    • Cortical mapping, which shows the surgeon where essential functions are located in the brain, so the surgeon will avoid cutting through these areas; identifies the area of the brain causing seizures
    • Craniosynostosis
    • Epilepsy surgery
    • Functional neurosurgery
    • Gamma Knife
    • Intraoperative angiography, or the use of blood vessel x-rays during surgery to enhance outcomes for aneurysms or arteriovenous malformation surgery
    • Movement disorder surgery--surgical implantation of deep brain stimulators to treat Parkinson's Disease and certain types of tremor
    • Pediatric neurosurgery
    • Radiosurgery
    • Skull base surgery
    • Spine surgery
    • Stereo neurosurgery, which is computer-assisted guidance that allows the placement of biopsy tools or electrodes deep in the brain
    • Surgical navigation, or use of computers to plan precise approaches to areas of the brain during surgery
    • Trauma surgery

    Typical conditions treated include: brain tumors, aneurysms, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), stroke, degenerative disc disease of the spine, nerve compression syndromes, and carotid artery blockage.

    Among the specialized procedures offered by Washington University neurosurgeons is the Gamma Knife, a revolutionary new treatment for certain types of brain tumors and other abnormalities within the brain. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is the only facility with this technology within 250 miles of St. Louis. For patients whose age or other medical conditions make neurosurgery dangerous or not an option, the Gamma Knife can be a life-saving procedure.

    In addition, Washington University neurosurgeons are consistently refining surgical techniques to treat epilepsy, brain tumors and a combined endovascular/neurosurgical treatment of aneurysms. Recently, Dr. Dacey performed the world's first magnetic surgery, known as the Magnetic Surgery System (MSS), which promises less invasive techniques for finding and removing brain tumors, while avoiding adjacent structures and tissues.

    Caring for our neurosurgical patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital allows access to four dedicated neurosurgery operating rooms equipped to perform any neurological surgical procedures including multiple trauma. Our 20-bed neuro-intensive care unit (NICU) is one of the largest and most sophisticated in the United States, ensuring that after surgery, patients are cared for by specialized physicians, nurses and other staff. The NICU has computerized radiograph viewing and an in-unit positron emission tomography (PET) scanner -- a cutting-edge brain imaging technique invented and developed at Washington University.

    Regional/National Referrals

    We treat many patients from outside the region and outside United States. For North American referrals, physicians may call the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Doctors Access Line at (800) 252-DOCS (3627). Patients in the continental United States may refer to Family and Guest Services for assistance with lodging.

    International Referrals

    Physicians and patients from countries outside of the United States may view a complete list of our Centers of Excellence available for International Healthcare Referrals or physicians may contact us by email, with a short summary of the patient's diagnosis and your initial treatment plan. We will forward this summary to the right department for review and follow-up. Although English is preferred, you may email in your own language.

    Washington University School of Medicine has served as a pioneer in neurosurgery since 1910 when Dr. Ernest Sachs became the first Professor of Neurological Surgery in the United States. Driven by clinical excellence and leading-edge research, our surgeons, led by Ralph G. Dacey, MD, continue to offer patients the latest in neurosurgical care in a compassionate environment.

    The Department of Neurosurgery consists of eleven adult neurosurgeons and four pediatric neurosurgeons. Twelve neurosurgeons are board-certified in neurosurgery and three are board-eligible.


    All faculty members are actively engaged in research to advance neurosurgical treatment. This promises that our patients receive the latest, proven treatments available. There are multiple research programs in the areas of:

  • Molecular mechanisms of the pathogenesis of brain tumors
  • Cerebral hemodynamics in severe head injury and intracranial hemorrhage
  • Mechanisms of cerebral microcirculatory dysfunction in adults and newborns
  • Physiology and anatomy of the cerebral cortex
  • Biomechanical assessment of abnormal neurological function in cervical spondylosis, and
  • Clinical research in the areas of cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injury, brain tumors, and the treatment of cerebral aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations
  • Washington University neurosurgeons offer you comprehensive specialty services available at few centers in the nation. Our surgeons include a number of regional and national experts who are active in numerous national and international professional organizations and on editorial boards for leading scientific publications.

    For more information, visit the Department of Neurosurgery.

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    Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine
    Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine