We understand how challenging it is when your child has a disorder of the brain, spine or nervous system. Our team of experts provide hope, support, and quality care tailored to your child’s needs. 

Our surgeons are specially trained to perform complex brain and spine surgery with excellent outcomes. Using minimally invasive techniques (those with fewer and smaller incisions), we can treat your child’s condition while reducing injury to normal tissue.

Why Choose Us for Pediatric Neurosurgery

  • Advanced technology: Your child’s surgery is performed with the latest surgical technology, offering the best possible outcomes. Our technology includes surgical robotics, laser ablation, and endoscopy. 
  • Image-guided mapping tools: To provide your child safer, more effective care, our surgeons plan and perform procedures using sophisticated imaging tools. These tools provide real-time imaging, allowing our team to tailor their approach both before entering the operating room and during surgery.
  • Family-centered approach: You and your child receive the support and education you need at every point in your journey. We’re here to help, from before your child is born through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.
  • Every specialist you need: Our neurosurgeons, neurologists and other specialists combine their expertise for your child’s complete care.
Brian Hanak, MD
“As a pediatric neurosurgeon at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, my practice embodies my lifelong passions of caring for young people, teaching, continuous learning, and pursuing research to improve patient care.”

Conditions We Treat

  • Arachnoid and cerebral cysts, fluid-filled sacs in the skull, brain or spinal cord
  • Brain and spinal cord tumors, both benign and malignant (cancerous)
  • Cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects movement, muscle tone and balance
  • Chiari malformations, a condition present at birth where brain tissue extends into the spinal canal
  • Craniosynostosis, where premature closing of cranial sutures (joints in the skull) prevents normal brain and skull growth
  • Head and spinal trauma
  • Hydrocephalus, excess fluid in brain cavities that puts pressure on the brain
  • Hydrocephalus in utero, excess fluid in brain cavities of an unborn baby
  • Medically intractable epilepsy, a seizure disorder that cannot be controlled with medication
  • Moyamoya disease, a rare disorder caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain
  • Myelomeningocele, the most serious form of spina bifida where the backbone does not completely form, allowing the spinal cord to protrude from the back
  • Neurofibromatosis, congenital tumors that can impact your child’s health  
  • Spina bifida, a condition where a baby’s backbone doesn’t fully form and protect the spinal cord
  • Tethered spinal cord, a condition where the spinal cord is attached to tissue around the base of the spine and can’t move freely
  • Vascular malformations, abnormal development of blood vessels in the brain or spine

Services We Offer

  • Cranial surgery, which involves surgery of the skull itself or to access and perform surgery on the brain
  • Craniosynostosis surgery, performed on infants or very young children to prevent closing of cranial sutures
  • Deep brain stimulation, a therapy for movement and seizure disorders where electrodes are implanted to send electrical signals to the brain 
  • Endoscopic surgery, where a tiny camera is inserted into the skull or spine to assist in minimally invasive procedures
  • Laser ablation surgery, using light and heat to remove tumors or abnormal areas in the brain
  • Selective dorsal rhizotomy, surgery to relieve painful contractions in the legs due to cerebral palsy or other conditions
  • Spine surgery, performed by pediatric neurosurgeons to treat a wide variety of spinal conditions (especially spinal cord and spinal nerve conditions)

What to Expect

From the moment your child is diagnosed with a neurosurgical condition, our team is here to support your family. Our experts help you understand your child’s diagnosis, all of the possible treatment options and the steps to prepare for surgery. 

Assessment and Diagnosis

You and your child will begin by meeting with a surgeon, who will evaluate your child’s medical history and symptoms. We may recommend your child have imaging tests (like a CT scan or MRI) to help pinpoint the location of any abnormal brain areas. Viewing images of these areas helps develop an accurate diagnosis, which can determine your child’s surgical treatment options.

Depending on your child’s condition, we may also recommend a cerebral angiogram. This test produces images of blood vessels to detect problems such as aneurysms (bulging or bleeding vessels) and brain malformations.

Treatment

Neurosurgery can improve or preserve your child’s physical and mental function. In some cases, it may be necessary to save your child from life-threatening conditions. No matter what condition your child is facing, we’re here to provide the best treatment possible. Our surgeons are on the leading edge of neurosurgery, using the latest techniques, advancing research and pioneering treatments.

If your child needs surgery, we’ll order blood work to determine if the procedure is safe for them. We’ll help you understand how anesthesia works and how it will be used during your child’s surgery.

Follow-Up

Once your child is ready to leave the hospital, we’ll provide detailed information about taking care of them while they recover at home. We’ll also schedule a follow-up appointment to check on how your child’s recovery is progressing. After that, we’ll continue check-ups as needed for your child’s personal journey through recovery.

How to Get Help

To learn more about how to get a referral to our pediatric neurosurgeons, call 877-558-0800. We offer same day appointments if your child needs urgent care.