Dennis Spencer, MD

Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery; Chief, Epilepsy Surgery; Director, Epilepsy Fellowship; Director, Pituitary Surgery

Physician Biography

Dennis Spencer, MD, is a neurosurgeon at Yale Medicine with a specialty in treating intractable epilepsy, seizure disorders associated with brain tumors, and pituitary tumors. Dr. Spencer’s interest in the brain dates back to his childhood when he was browsing the library for ideas for a 4-H project. He learned that the brain was powered by electricity, a fact that tickled his imagination, especially because his father was an electrician. Years later, he attended Washington University School of Medicine and joined Yale Medicine shortly after graduating.

In 1987, Dr. Spencer was named the chief of neurosurgery. Over the years, he has pioneered technologies to place electrodes on the surface of the brain to accurately define from where seizures originate and procedures to remove sections of the temporal lobe to lessen seizures.

As a physician, Dr. Spencer’s ultimate goal is to help patients achieve a good quality of life. He believes that patient-doctor interactions should be a two-way street. “I’ll ask them what their seizures feel like, what warning signs they have, how it’s affected their family, and how it’s affected their social situation,” he says. From there, Dr. Spencer will bring the patients’ cases to weekly conferences with neurology epilepsy experts to talk about treatment options.

In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Spencer is internationally known for his research into epilepsy and developing a widely used neocortical sparing surgical approach for patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. He has received awards for his research from the American Epilepsy Society, and the Society of Neurological Surgeons. He also teaches at the Yale School of Medicine as the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery. 

Clinical Interests

  • Brain Neoplasms
  • Seizures

Patient Care

Accepts new patients? Yes
Patient Type: Adult; Child
Referrals: From patients or physicians

Patient Care Organizations

Neurosurgery: Epilepsy Surgery

Epilepsy & Seizures

Pediatric Epilepsy Program

Pituitary Program

Yale Medicine

Board Certifications

  • Neurological Surgery AB of Neurological Surgery (1980)

Clinical Trials

Conditions Study Title
Diseases of the Nervous System Laser Ablation of Abnormal Neurological Tissue Using Robotic NeuroBlate System (LAANTERN)
Diseases of the Nervous System, Mental Health & Behavioral Research SV2A PET Imaging in Healthy Subjects and Epilepsy Patients

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Contact Info

Dennis Spencer, MD
Patient Care Location
Neuroscience CenterYale Physicians Building
800 Howard Avenue, Ste Lower Level

New Haven, CT 06519
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Mailing Address
NeurosurgeryPO Box 208082
New Haven, CT 06520-8082

Curriculum Vitae