L. Dade Lunsford, MD, is the Lars Leksell Professor and Distinguished Professor at the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also director emeritus of the Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and an internationally recognized authority on stereotactic surgery, radiosurgery, and minimally invasive surgery.
In 1987, Dr. Lunsford was responsible for bringing the Gamma Knife to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the first center in the United States to offer this state-of-the-art, minimally invasive form of brain surgery.
Dr. Lunsford received his medical degree in 1974 from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his internship in surgery at the University of Virginia Hospital and his residency in neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh training under Peter Jannetta. Following a one-year fellowship in stereotactic and functional neurosurgery at the Karolinska institute in Stockholm, Sweden—where he studied with professors Lars Leksell and Erik-Olof Backlund—he joined the Department of Neurological Surgery faculty in 1981.
[Read also Lunsford Named Recipient of Patient Award.]
He is an active staff member of several UPMC hospitals and was president of the medical staff at UPMC Presbyterian from 1999-2001 and past president of the Council of Clinical Chairs for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2001-2003. Dr. Lunsford chairs the UPMC Health System Technology and Innovative Practice (TIPAC) committee and co-chairs the UPMC Brain Mapping (MEG) Center.
Dr. Lunsford has been board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery since 1983. He is the author of more than 1,400 published articles, abstracts, and book chapters and has served as the editor or co-editor of 17 books.
Dr. Lunsford served as department chairman for ten years, before stepping down in July of 2006 to devote more time to his clinical work, clinical investigation, and resident and fellow training. He also served as the department residency director from 1987 until 2020.
Since 2012, he has served as a team physician (neurosurgeon) for the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
In 2016, Dr. Lunsford received the Cushing Award for Technical Excellence and Innovation in Neurosurgery from the American Association of Neurological Surgery. In December of 2017, he received the prestigious Herbert Olivecrona Award—known by some as the “Nobel Prize of Neurosurgery”—from the Karolinska Institute & Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. In April of 2018, he was honored to present the 2018 Van Wagenen Lecture during the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting in New Orleans. On June 19, 2020, via live stream, he delivered the inaugural Dan Leksell Lecture at the 4th IRRF/ISRS Biennial Radiosurgery Research and Education meeting. In 2021, Dr. Lunsford received the Andrew Parsa award for mentorship from the AANS-CNS Section on Tumors and delivered the annual Ronald Bittner Lecture. Since 2002 he has been a Castle Connolly Top Doctor and currently serves on their Board of Medical Advisors. In May 2022 Dr. Lunsford delivered the inaugural Lunsford Radiosurgery Lecture at the Miami Baptist Cancer Institute.
Dr. Lunsford's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.
Specialized Areas of Interest
American Board of Neurological Surgery
Professional Organization Membership
Education & Training
- BA, University of Virginia, 1970
- MD, Columbia University, 1974
- Internship, General Surgery, University of Virginia, 1975
- Residency, University of Pittsburgh, 1980
- Fellowship, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, Karolinska Sjukhuset, 1981
Honors & Awards
- Inaugural Lunsford Radiosurgery Lecture, Miami Baptist Cancer Institute, 2022
- Pittsburgh’s Best Doctors, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2012-22
- Andy T. Parsa Mentorship Award, AANS/CNS Section on Tumors, 2021
- Ronald L. Bittner Lecturer, AANS/CNS Section on Tumors, 2021
- Excellence in Patient Experience Award, UPMC, 2018
- Van Wagenen Lecturer, American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, 2018
- Herbert Olivecrona Award, Karolinska Institute & Karolinska University Hospital, 2017
- AANS Cushing Award for Technical Excellence and Innovation in Neurosurgery, 2016
- Best Doctors in America, Pittsburgh Business Times, 2016
- American Most Honored Professionals, Top 1%, 2016
- America’s Top Doctors for Cancer, Castle Connolly Medical, Ltd., 2005-16
- Best Doctors in America, 2005-16
- Top Doctor, The Global Directory of Who’s Who, Neurological Surgery, 2013-16
- Best Doctors in America database, 2010-16
- Who’s Who In America, Marquis, 2003, 2006-14
- Pioneers in Radiosurgery Award, Leksell Gamma Knife Society, 2010
- Leading Health Professionals of the World, 2010
- Faculty Teaching Award, Department of Neurosurgery 1997, 1999, 2000, 2010
- Guide to America’s Top Surgeons, 2006-09
- Allegheny County Medical Society Ralph C. Wilde Award, 2008
- Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. National Physician of the Year Award, 2008
- Who’s Who in the World, 2008
- Distinguished Professor, University of Pittsburgh, 2007
- Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, 2007
- Congress of Neurological Surgeons Honored Guest, 2007
- AANS Young Neurosurgeon Award, 2005
- Academic Keys Who’s Who in Medical Sciences Education, 2005
- Lars Leksell Provost Lecture, 2000
- International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Jacob Fabrikant Award, 1997
- William S. McEllroy Award, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 1997
- Good Housekeeping Best Doctors, 1996
- William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship, AANS, 1980
- Phi Beta Kappa - University of Virginia, 1970
- BA with High Honors - University of Virginia, 1970
Long-term clinical outcomes research based on data mining of a large patient data base of 17,000 patients who have had Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery over a 35-year interval. Projects are related to vascular malformations, metastatic cancer, meningiomas, vestibular schwannomas, and skull base neoplasms. Peer reviewed publication productivity ranges from 20-30 per year.
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Dr. Lunsford explains trigeminal neuralgia and the advantages of using glycerol rhizotomy, a rapid action procedure, for treatment.
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Dr. Lunsford explains trigeminal neuralgia and the advantages of using the Gamma Knife, a non-invasive one-day procedure, for treatment.
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Lunsford, MD, explains acoustic neuromas and the advantages of using the Gamma Knife, a non-invasive one-day procedure, for treatment.