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Department of Neurosurgery

The Department of Neurosurgery performs more than 1,700 procedures a year for patients living with high-risk brain tumors, complex spinal cord injuries and disorders presenting from nearly every branch of medicine. Our hands-on approach to patient care is mirrored in our immersive, seven-year residency program, where we prepare tomorrow’s neurosurgeons.
Mina Safain, MD performing a neurosurgery at MelroseWakefield Hospital.

Small tools, big impact

Our Department of Neurosurgery is bolstered by some of the brightest minds in neuroscience — experts who dedicate their lives to discovering new breakthroughs that can change surgical care as we know it. Yet, there’s still so much to learn.

We’re exploring new advancements in neurosurgical care through our array of clinical trials. One area of research investigates the effects of non-invasive intracranial pressure monitoring, while the other delves into the potential of transcranial magnetic stimulation as a diagnostic tool for movement disorders, to name a few.

It’s here that we put our research answers into action. We strongly believe that trying to push the bounds of what we understand can lead to new treatments, like performing brain surgery with the smallest surgical tools or beams of concentrated radiation. In fact, Tufts Medicine is the first and only Gamma Knife Center in Massachusetts and northern New England.

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Neurosurgeon Julian Wu, MD and Kerry Mahn, RN fitting headpiece used in Gamma Knife procedure on patient at Tufts Medical Center.
New treatment for brain cancer found to increase median life expectancy by nearly 40%
Despite lacking a complete cure for the deadly disease, promising research offers a new line of hope for people living with glioblastoma by potentially extending life expectancies.

Our divisions

  • Neuro-oncology 
  • Spinal Neurosurgery 
  • Neurovascular Surgery 
  • Stereotactic + Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

Department research

Understanding something as vital and complex as the nervous system requires curiosity and a passion for investigation. That’s why we’re involved in numerous clinical trials, from new diagnostic tests to groundbreaking treatments for brain cancer, stroke, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and more.


Training + education

What sets our neurosurgery training programs apart? At Tufts Medicine, the resources of a large hospital system meet the intimate learning opportunities of a small program. You'll get hands-on training in techniques that are rarely found elsewhere, like Gamma Knife surgery. And you’ll get to do it all in downtown Boston — an epicenter of history, culture and medicine.

Our Department is also one of six regional centers to host the annual Society of Neurological Surgeons Fundamental Skills Course, a "boot camp" required for all incoming neurosurgery residents in the United States. Every year, we host approximately 30 interns from 19 neurosurgical residency programs for two days of lectures and experiential sessions.

Neurologist-in-Chief David E. Thaler, MD, PhD and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief Carl Heilman, MD explain how the Department of Neurology and the Department of Neurosurgery share Tufts Medicine’s tripartite mission: clinical excellence, research and education.


Our leadership

Our neurosurgery leadership team gives us the guidance and support we need to ensure that the clinical, research and training goals of the department are met.

  • Department Chair: Carl Heilman, MD
  • Division Chief, Epilepsy Surgery, Co-Chief, Division of Spinal Neurosurgery: James Kryzanski, MD
  • Vice Chair and Division Chief, Neuro-Oncology, Division Chief, Stereotactic and Gamma Knife Radiosurgery: Julian Wu, MD
  • Division Chief, Neurovascular Surgery: Adel Malek, MD
  • Co-Chief, Division of Spinal Neurosurgery: Ron Riesenburger, MD
Adel Malek, MD, PhD (Chief, Division of Neurovascular Surgery) performing surgery in the Angiography Suite at Tufts Medical Center.
Our locations

From regular office visits to inpatient stays, our specialists across Tufts Medicine offer the best in healthcare, when and where our patients need it.

James Krysanski, MD (Chief, Division of Epilepsy Surgery and Co-Chief, Division of Spine Surgery) consults with patient during a clinic appointment.
Our doctors + care team

Our specialists and care team members across Tufts Medicine deliver unmatched healthcare with a personalized touch.

New, Personalized Therapy for Treatment of Deadly Brain Cancer Found To Increase Median Life Expectancy by 40%
November 22, 2022
For years, glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, has frustrated scientists and researchers. But while there is no known cure for this deadly disease, new, cutting-edge research may provide a life-prolonging option for glioblastoma patients and their families.
November 7, 2022
Tufts Medical Center patient, triathlete overcomes brain aneurysm to complete Ironman competition.
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