Diagnosis & Treatments
An Accurate Diagnosis
The best treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis. Our team uses the latest imaging tests and other diagnostic services available to pinpoint the cause of your child's symptoms. For some children, the diagnosis is made based on a genetic test. Our children's hospitals are home to internationally known medical genetics departments staffed by experts who can help you understand your child's genetic test results, and what they mean for his or her care and for your family.
Depending in your child's diagnosis, his or her care could include one or more of the following approaches:
Medications are typically the first line of therapy for disorders such as epilepsy and chronic headaches. Our neurologists carefully assess the roots of your child's symptoms and choose the medication best suited for his or her care. In the case of epilepsy, it is sometimes necessary to try different medications before finding one that works to control your child's seizures.
- Surgery with precision: Our neurosurgeons are highly experienced in surgical techniques to treat brain and spinal tumors, craniofacial deformities, spasticity, epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis, and complex spinal deformities. We use the latest mapping and monitoring techniques to plan your child's surgery to maximize success and minimize risk.
- Minimally invasive surgery: We are able to take a minimally invasive approach to surgery in most of our pediatric patients, resulting in smaller incisions, less pain after surgery, less scarring, and a faster recovery for your child. Our neurosurgeons are exceptionally skilled at endoscopic procedures for the treatment of hydrocephalus, intracranial cysts, certain brain tumors, and some spinal disorders.
- Critical care for children: Our Pediatric Neuro ICUs provide specialized care around the clock to infants, children, and adolescents with life-threatening neurological illnesses and injuries, as well as those recovering from major or high-risk neurological surgery.
While some children with brain and spinal tumors benefit from radiation therapy, this treatment can affect neurological development in some young patients. A pediatric radiation oncologist will work with the other cancer specialists managing your child’s care to see if radiation therapy is the most effective treatment option for your child. If so, we use radiation therapy that is highly targeted to the tumor, sparing nearby healthy tissue.
Rehabilitation is a major component of care for children with certain disorders of the nervous system, such as cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, and other disorders affecting movement. Your child may also need physical or occupational therapy after surgery. Our pediatric rehabilitation specialists have special training in the rehabilitation of children. They will customize a program of care to help your child regain or maintain movement and function.
Your child may have the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial of a new treatment. Our pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons participate in clinical trials and conduct basic science research studies to advance our understanding of neurological disorders that affect children. Their shared goal is to offer children promising new (and potentially more effective) therapies, to learn more about the development of these diseases, and to prevent these illnesses in the future.
For children with brain and spinal tumors, we are members of the Children's Oncology Group, which sponsors major clinical trials assessing new therapies for children with cancer.