Raymond F. Sekula Jr., MD, MBA

Associate Professor
Director, Cranial Nerve Disorders Program
Vice Chair, UPMC Central Pa.

Ray Sekula




Raymond Sekula Jr., MD, is an associate professor of neurological surgery and director of the department’s Cranial Nerve and Brainstem Disorders program. He is known internationally and nationally for his development of microvascular techniques, which provide patients with improved outcomes, reduced complications, and easier recoveries.

Dr. Sekula has performed more than 1,500 procedures for patients with trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm, and other cranial neuralgias. Last year, he performed more than 200 operations for patients with cranial neuralgias and 50 operations for patients with brain tumors of all types. He is an expert in minimally invasive brain and spine surgery and has developed techniques in brain surgeries of all types that reduce patients’ hospital stays to one or two days without the need for the intensive care unit after the procedure.

He has been recognized with numerous honors, including The American Association of Neurological Surgeon’s Young Investigator Award, The Trigeminal Neuralgia Association Fellowship Award, a UPMC Champion of Nursing Nominee Award, and Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 Under 40” and “Best Doctor’s” awards.

Dr. Sekula received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. Following a surgical internship and residency in neurological surgery, he completed advanced training in minimally invasive neurosurgery and a fellowship with neurosurgical pioneer, and former University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery chairman, Peter Jannetta, MD. Following his training, he became assistant, and then co-director, of the Cranial Nerve Disorders Center with Dr. Jannetta in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Sekula is also a renowned teacher of neurological surgery and is a frequent lecturer nationally and internationally. He has been awarded the annual faculty teaching award by the department’s residents in 2015 and 2016. Dr. Sekula has authored or co-authored many original journal articles and book chapters, and is coeditor of the textbook Microvascular Decompression Surgery, a comprehensive look at MVD surgery, widely accepted as an effective remedy for cranial nerve hyperexcitability disorders including hemifacial spasm, trigeminal neuralgia, and glossopharyngeal neuralgia.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Minimally invasive brain and spine surgery, trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm, brain and skull base tumors.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgery

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Hamot
UPMC Mercy 
UPMC Passavant
UPMC Presbyterian

Professional Organization Membership

Allegheny County Medical Society
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
AANS/CNS Section on Pain
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Facial Pain Association
Hemifacial Spasm Association
Medical Advisory Board of TNA
Pennsylvania Neurosurgical Society
The Facial Pain Association
Trigeminal Neuralgia Association
World Neurosurgeon Federation of Cranial Nerve Disorders

Education & Training

BA, Classics, University of Virginia, 1994
MD, Georgetown, 2000
Residency, Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh 2004
Residency, Neurosurgery, Allegheny General Hospital, 2006
Fellowship, Microvascular & Skull Base Surgery, 2006
MBA, Carnegie Mellon University, 2009

Honors & Awards

  • UPMC ACES Award, 2018
  • Best Doctors in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2016-17
  • UPMC Champion of Nursing Nomination, 2017
  • Faculty Teaching Award, Department of Neurological Surgery, 2016
  • Allen L. Humphrey Excellence in Mentoring, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2016

Selected Publications

Foster KA, Shin SS, Prabhu B, Fredrickson A, Sekula RF Jr. Calcium phosphate cement cranioplasty decreases the rate of CSF leak and wound infection compared to titanium mesh cranioplasty: retrospective study of 672 patients. World Neurosurg 95:414-418, 2016.

Hughes MA, Frederickson AM, Branstetter BF, Zhu X, Sekula RF Jr. MRI of the Trigeminal Nerve in Patients With Trigeminal Neuralgia Secondary to Vascular Compression. AJR Am J Roentgenol 206(3):595-600, 2016.

Panczykowski DM, Frederickson AM, Hughes MA, Oskin JE, Stevens DR, Sekula RF Jr. A Blinded, Case-Control Trial Assessing the Value of Steady State Free Precession Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the Diagnosis of Trigeminal NeuralgiaWorld Neurosurg 89:427-33, 2016.

Thirumala P, Frederickson AM, Balzer J, Crammond D, Habeych ME, Chang YF, Sekula RF Jr. Reduction in high-frequency hearing loss following technical modifications to microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasmJ Neurosurg 123(4):1059-64, 2015.

Hughes MA, Branstetter BF, Taylor CT, Fakhran S, Delfyett WT, Frederickson AM, Sekula RF Jr. MRI findings in patients with a history of failed prior microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm: how to image and where to lookAJNR Am J Neuroradiol 36(4):768-73, 2015.

Thomas KL, Hughes MA, Frederickson AM, Branstetter BF 4th, Vilensky JA, Sekula RF. Hemifacial spasm caused by an aberrant jugular branch of the ascending pharyngeal arteryBr J Neurosurg 29(1):97-99, 2015.

Sekula RF Jr, Frederickson AM, Branstetter BF 4th, Oskin JE, Stevens DR, Zwagerman NT, Grandhi R, Hughes MA. Thin-slice T2 MRI imaging predicts vascular pathology in hemifacial spasm: a case-control studyMov Disord 29(10):1299-303, 2014.

Sekula RF Jr, Frederickson AM, Arnone GD, Quigley MR, Hallett M. Microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm in patients >65 years of age: an analysis of outcomes and complicationsMuscle Nerve 48(5):770-6, 2013.

Frederickson AM, Sekula RF Jr. The utility of calcium phosphate cement in cranioplasty following retromastoid craniectomy for cranial neuralgias.
Br J Neurosurg 27(6):808-11, 2013.

Sekula RF Jr, Arnone GD, Crocker C, Aziz KM, Alperin N. The pathogenesis of Chiari I malformation and syringomyeliaNeurol Res 33(3):232-9, 2011.

A complete list of Dr. Sekula's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Media Appearances

Full Circle
May 9, 2017

Woman finds hope in struggle with 'suicide disease'
October 7, 2016
WUSA-9, Washington, D.C.

Chapter Profile: Pitt Neurosurgery Interest Group
Winter 2016
Young Neurosurgeons News

UPMC OnTopic Videos

Microvascular Decompression in the Treatment of Cranial Nerve Disorders
Dr. Sekula discusses the recent improvements and refinements made to the microvascular decompression procedure.

Hemifacial Spasm
Dr. Sekula speaks about microvascular decompression treatment for hemifacial spasm.

Trigeminal Neuralgia
Dr. Sekula speaks about microvascular decompression treatment for trigeminal neuralgia.