Raymond F. Sekula Jr., MD, MBA, a native of western Pennsylvania, is vice chair of UPMC Central Pa., professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and director of UPMC’s Cranial Nerve and Brainstem Disorders program. He is also director of the department’s residency program. Dr. Sekula is a graduate of Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School, the University of Virginia with a degree in classics, the Georgetown University School of Medicine with a degree in medicine, and Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in business administration.
An internationally renowned expert in minimally invasive brain surgery, Dr. Sekula performs more than 500 operations each year for patients throughout the United States and beyond for the most complex neurologic disorders. Dr. Sekula has performed more than 2,000 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.
Dr. Sekula has been honored with numerous awards including the Young Investigator Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (2009), the Allen Humphrey Excellence in Mentoring Award at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (2016), Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 under 40” and “Best Doctors” Awards, a UPMC Champion of Nursing Award, UPMC’s ACES Award (2018), the Young Investigator Award from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (2018), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Faculty Teaching Award (2021). He has been twice awarded the Department’s annual faculty teaching award.
In addition to his clinical and administrative duties at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Sekula oversees a preclinical laboratory studying fundamental mechanisms of facial pain, which has recently received funding through the National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 100 scientific articles and is a 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.
Dr. Sekula’s international outreach includes co-founding the World Federation of Cranial Nerve Disorders in 2016. He is a member of the medical advisory board of the Facial Pain Association, an international association dedicated to helping patients with facial pain of all types. In 2015, he traveled to Kazakhstan to help advise the structure of the Republican Scientific Center of Neurosurgery in Astana. In 2015, he was the honored guest of La Sociedad Ecuatoriana de Neurocirugia of South America.
Specialized Areas of Interest
American Board of Neurological Surgery
Professional Organization Membership
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
- Faculty Teaching Award, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2021
- Best Doctors in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2016-20
- UPMC ACES Award, 2018
- UPMC Champion of Nursing Nomination, 2017
- SANS Challenge Finalist, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, 2017
- Faculty Teaching Award, Department of Neurological Surgery, 2016
- Allen L. Humphrey Excellence in Mentoring, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2016
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 Neuralgia. World 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 spasm. J 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 look. AJNR 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 artery. Br 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 study. Mov 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 complications. Muscle 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 syringomyelia. Neurol 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.
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WUSA-9, Washington, D.C.
Chapter Profile: Pitt Neurosurgery Interest Group
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.
Dr. Sekula speaks about microvascular decompression treatment for hemifacial spasm.
Dr. Sekula speaks about microvascular decompression treatment for trigeminal neuralgia.