Stereotactic Radiosurgery & Functional Fellowship

For more than thirty years surgeons working at the UPMC Department of Neurological Surgery and its Center for Image Guided Neurosurgery have performed pioneering minimally invasive brain surgery for patients with tumors, vascular malformations, movement disorders, and epilepsy. In keeping with the goal of minimally invasive surgery, various technologies have facilitated care of patients with these often complex clinical problems. For example, in 1981 the first  United States dedicated CT scanner was placed in the operating room at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, now supplemented with multiple clinical and research 1.5 - 3 T MRI technologies. We often use magnetoencephalography (MEG) to map critical brain function regions in advance of both lesional brain surgery and epilepsy cases.  In addition, the program performs approximately 300 functional and epilepsy surgery procedures, including temporal and extratemporal resections, hemispherectomies, invasive monitoring (SEEG and subdural grids), vagus nerve stimulators, and deep brain stimulation for abnormal movement disorders, epilepsy and psychiatric disorders. Our clinical neurophysiology center has multiple MD and PhD level specialists who participate in all operations where monitoring is used.

Individuals who are selected to obtain this subspecialty certification in epilepsy, stereotactic functional, and radiosurgery are promised an enormous experience based on the current patient load at our center and the national and international reputation of our program. The Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery at UPMC was cited as the most prominent academic publishing organization in stereotactic surgery in the world. On an annual basis, we publish on average 25 peer-reviewed articles. Overall more than 650 peer reviewed articles, >250 book chapters, and 12 books have been published related to the work and studies done at this center. Fellows selected for this program are expected to participate in educational activities that improve clinical skill acquisition, prepare outcomes research, and publish in the clinical or basic science research arena. 

Fellows participate in all patient care activities at our center, including:

  • evaluation and management leading to decision making,
  • participation in procedures designed to increase learning in the field, and
  • pre and post-operative care.

The annual patient population referred to our center exceeds 1,000 patients with conditions that include brain tumors, movement disorders, chronic pain conditions, arteriovenous malformations, other vascular anomalies, spinal tumors, and medical intractable epilepsy. In addition to training in current functional neurosurgical procedures for movement disorders using deep brain stimulation, fellows participate in our annual case experience of >650 patients who undergo Gamma Knife brain surgery and >100 cases who may undergo linear accelerator spine radiosurgery under the direction of Peter Gerszten, MD.

Based on individual applicant’s backgrounds, recommendations, and career goals we have developed two tracks for this fellowship program. Successful applicants will enter one of these two tracks depending on their planned post fellowship employment interests’ opportunities:

  • Track 1, Stereotactic Radiosurgery core (70%), with additional exposure to Functional Neurosurgery and Epilepsy Surgery (30%)
  • Track 2, Functional Neurosurgery and Epilepsy core (70%), with additional exposure to Radiosurgery (30%)

For more information and to apply, contact: L. Dade Lunsford, MD, Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, MD, PhD, and Melissa Lukehart.