Department of  Neurosurgery
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Call Us: (314) 362-3636

Pediatric Neurosurgery

Brain Tumors

Washington University pediatric neurosurgeons offer neuro-oncology services as part of a multidisciplinary team that also includes ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists, radiation oncologists, neuroradiologists, medical oncologists and other specialists. The team works with a dedicated group of neuroanesthesiologists. Physicians meet weekly to review cases and develop individualized treatment plans.

We employ highly advanced therapeutic techniques including:

  • intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI)
  • the Stealth® surgical navigation system
  • intraoperative brain mapping
  • skull-base surgery
  • minimally invasive surgery
  • Gamma Knife radiosurgery
  • the Monteris® high-intensity laser probe

Our neuro-oncology program also is on the leading edge of personalized, genetically defined approaches to brain tumors and has many active clinical trials to provide novel diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities for patients.

Conditions & Treatments

Brain tumors encompass a wide spectrum of growths that occur either in the brain or in the structures that cover the surface of the brain.

These tumors cause various symptoms and result in multiple neurological problems, such as:

  • headaches
  • seizures
  • personality changes
  • weakness
  • visual problems
  • language disturbances

Brain tumors are commonly diagnosed with neuro-imaging studies such as computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Once a tumor is discovered, most patients are seen by a neurosurgeon, a neuro-oncologist or a neurologist. Patients may be treated with surgery, innovative minimally invasive procedures, Gamma Knife radiosurgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of treatments.

Types of Brain Tumors

Glial tumors

Glioblastoma multiforme, astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, mixed glioma, brain stem glioma, pilocytic astrocytoma, optic nerve glioma, ependymoma, ganglioglioma, ganglioneuroma.

Other primary brain and skull-base tumors

Meningioma, pituitary tumors, acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma, other schwannomas, craniopharyngioma, chondrosarcoma, chordoma, medulloblastoma, pineal tumors, primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET), glomus tumors, vascular tumors.

Other benign lesions or growths

Colloid cyst, arachnoid cyst, Rathke’s cleft cyst, other cysts.

Metastatic brain tumors

Any tumors that spread to the brain from other parts of the body, including meningeal carcinomatosis.

Our team also treats other conditions that impact the brain, such as:

  • Central nervous system lymphoma
  • Neurofibromatosis (NF1 and NF2)
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • Pseudotumor cerebri

Brain Tumor Clinical Trials

In collaboration with medical oncologists and neuroradiologists, we have many innovative therapeutic and diagnostic options available through advanced clinical trials.


Neurosurgery Providers
David Limbrick, MD, PhD
Matthew Smyth, MD

Oncology Provider
Karen M. Gauvain, MD


The Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board, which includes neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical neuro-oncologists, neuroradiologists and neuropathologists, meets weekly. Clinical, surgical, radiological and pathological findings in patient cases are discussed and potential treatment plans are determined. Physicians wishing to submit cases for review should contact the tumor board coordinator at (314) 362-3566.

The Skull-Base Tumor Conference is held the second Tuesday of the month. Neurosurgeons, radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and ophthalmologists review cases to determine an optimal treatment plan. Physicians wishing to submit cases for review should contact the skull-base nurse coordinator at (314) 362-4313.

The Pituitary Conference is held on the third Tuesday of every month during the academic year. Neurosurgeons, endocrinologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and ophthalmologists review cases to improve the diagnosis and management pituitary lesions.