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INFORMATION FOR

Chair's Message

Welcome to the Yale Department of Neurosurgery!

Since October 2014, it has been my honor and privilege to serve as the Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and Chief of Neurosurgery for the Yale New Haven Health System. I take personal pride and satisfaction in being surrounded by exceptionally talented individuals who have a common goal of providing the highest standard of neurosurgical care and support to our patients and their families with the most cutting-edge surgical expertise, in state-of-the-art facilities.

My initial focus has been on expanding the clinical growth of our department and fostering important relationships with community physicians providing care throughout the state, while maintaining excellence and building translational research programs to discover new ways to treat neurosurgical diseases in collaboration with some of the best scientific minds in the world here at Yale. We are off to a great start, but of course still have room to grow.

The number of neurosurgeons in the Yale Department of Neurosurgery has doubled in the last four years. It is my personal belief and mission that we provide care for patients with all types of neurosurgical conditions. These include primary (e.g., gliomas, glioblastomas, meningiomas) and metastatic brain tumors, spine and spinal cord tumors, pituitary tumors (adenomas), spinal disorders (e.g., herniated discs, stenosis, scoliosis), peripheral nerve syndromes (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar neuropathy), neurovascular disease (e.g., aneurysms, AVMs, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, carotid artery stenosis), pediatric and congenital disorders (e.g., hydrocephalus, craniosynostosis, spina bifida, congenital spinal deformities), movement disorders (e.g., deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease and tremors), pain disorders (i.e., trigeminal neuralgia) and spasticity (e.g., multiple sclerosis), cerebrospinal fluid disorders (e.g., normal pressure hydrocephalus) and epilepsy (adults and children, including deep brain stimulation). We gladly accept new patients or those who have undergone extensive treatment elsewhere, receive referrals from community physicians, and readily provide second opinions. We offer Y Access (888) YNHH-BED, (888) 964-4233, a direct line of communication, allowing community physicians to call one number, 24/7, 365 days of the year, for the rapid transfer of inpatients to Yale New Haven Hospitals who would benefit from our neurosurgical expertise.

One of our department’s strengths is that our neurosurgeons are sub-specialized within specific areas of neurosurgery, allowing each to focus his/her expertise, resulting in excellent patient outcomes. We provide coverage at 10 hospitals in the state of Connecticut and Rhode Island, allowing patients to be treated closer to home, but transfer patients to our main New Haven campuses when they are in need of more complex neurosurgical management.

The infrastructure and support staff at Yale New Haven Hospital’s York Street and St. Raphael’s campuses, Children’s Hospital, and Smilow Cancer Hospital, are truly unsurpassed and our footprint in the state is growing beyond New Haven to encompass Southern and Central Connecticut. We remain the only hospital in New England to house a state-of-the-art hybrid operating suite with both intraoperative 3-Tesla MRI and biplane angiography capabilities in the same location, allowing for better patient outcomes from more complete and safe surgical treatment of brain tumors and vascular disease (e.g., aneurysms). Specially trained neuroanesthesiologists provide anesthesia specific for patients undergoing neurological surgery. Moreover, patients benefit from the outstanding care provided in our Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with a dedicated neurointensivist team, step down care units, and inpatient floors with highly-trained nurses with expertise in caring for patients with neurological conditions.

On the outpatient side, our comprehensive Spine Center is just one example of our mission to provide patient-focused care using a multidisciplinary team approach. While some patients with spinal disease benefit from surgery, others can achieve successful outcomes with rehabilitation and pain management as part of a complete treatment strategy developed for each individual patient and provided at one location. Finally, Yale offers the largest and most well-established Radiosurgery (i.e., Gamma Knife) Program, providing an effective, non-surgical treatment alternative for appropriate patients with a wide range of neurological conditions. These are just a few highlights of what Yale has to offer clinically. Above all else, no matter what the reason for hospitalization, patients and their families receive thorough, empathetic and supportive care from the moment they arrive at Yale, throughout their stay, and after discharge.

We continue to be one of the best National Institute of Health (NIH) funded neurosurgery departments in the country, with research efforts spanning a wide spectrum of neurological diseases, with particular expertise in the molecular genomics of brain tumors and aneurysms. All patients at Yale receive the most up-to-date, standard protocols of care at the time of diagnosis. Our research activities position Yale as one of the few places to offer “precision medicine,” a more personalized treatment approach that more specifically targets diseases on an individual basis. Yale can also offer clinical trials - important opportunities not offered at other institutions for certain patients in later stages of their disease. Our research program ranks 6th nationally in Neurosurgery department NIH research funding in 2020 (the latest year in which data is available). Three of our researchers rank among the top 25 best funded Neurosurgery Principal Investigators.

In addition to our clinical and research strengths, Yale remains committed to educating and training the next generation of neurosurgeons. We select the best and the brightest residents and strive to train the future leaders in neurosurgery, who will push the field forward through developing new neurosurgical techniques and cutting-edge research. We are fortunate at Yale to have some of the most outstanding students and resident physicians to educate, and I, along with the rest of the faculty, take personal responsibility and pride in their education. We lead by example and our distinguished group of neurosurgeons serve as exceptional role models and teachers.

In conclusion, the Yale Department of Neurosurgery continues to strive for excellence in the three pillars of academic neurosurgery: patient care, the pursuit of science, and education. We hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards in all realms and accept nothing less than outstanding in everything we do, especially patient care. For any questions, concerns or request for a consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us: For patient related information, please call (203) 785-2805 For educational information, please call (203) 785-3275 Or email neurosurgery@yale.edu

Sincerely,
Murat Gunel, MD

Nixdorff-German Professor of Neurosurgery and Professor of Genetics and of Neuroscience
Chair, Department of Neurosurgery
Chief, Neurosurgery, Yale New Haven Health System
Chair, Perioperative Executive Leadership Committee, National Academy of Medicine