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Neurosurgery - Paediatric Neurosurgery

Mum Nicola with JaydaThe Neurosurgical Unit at Alder Hey provides surgical treatment for brain and spine disorders both nationally and internationally for children up to the age of 18. The unit performs around 500 surgeries per year and sees almost 4000 out-patients.

The Neurosurgical Ward (NSW) is a 16 bedded unit, of which six beds can accommodate children requiring High Dependency care.

The ward cares for children who require neurosurgery for a variety of reasons including;

  • Spasticity
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Head injuries
  • Surgical treatment of epilepsy
  • Craniofacial abnormalities.
  • Foetal Central Nervous System (CNS) Anomalies Clinic

Our Intra-operative 3-T MRI Scanner, the first of its kind in Europe

Intra-operative 3-T MRI Scanner

In October 2007 Alder Hey Children’s Charity received a donation of £3m from the Barclay Foundation to fund a 3-Tesla MRI scanner.

This high-resolution magnetic imaging combined with an adjacent state of the art theatre featuring BrainLab image guided navigation systems, enables scans to be carried out in the operating theatre during surgery. This provides the surgeon with highly accurate, real-time information used for navigation and updates on progress.

This is the first such installation dedicated to paediatrics in Europe and among many features will allow:

  • Surgeons to safely and completely remove tumours – significantly increasing survival rates in brain tumour cases
  • Much more precise surgery – minimising the potential side effects of operations where millimetres matter
  • Reduction in time and number of times children have to be anaesthetised and operated on
  • minimising the exposure to radiation in children who need multiple scans during their care and treatment

Other benefits of the Intra-operative 3-T MRI Scanner

  • Epilepsy diagnosis and a possible surgical ‘cure’ for this debilitating condition
  • The 3-Tesla magnet has already revealed tiny lesions on the brain of epilepsy patients not previously visible on a regular MRI scan. As well as identifying the lesion, the intra-operative facility will allow the neurosurgeon to navigate directly and microscopically to the lesion, remove it, and re-scan to ensure it has been fully removed.

Research opportunities

The exceptionally high resolution of the 3-Tesla magnet is pushing new boundaries in research. Already Liverpool Women’s Hospital is conducting research on neonates and foetal imaging (using the 1.5T scanner) where a range of pre-birth abnormalities are diagnosed and referred for surgery on delivery. Academic institutions are exploring opportunities, such as researching mobility in cerebral palsy patients

Patient benefits

Cardiac patients and those with shunts or bowel problems will benefit enormously, previously they may have had to be diagnosed through CT or Fluoroscopy which carry high radiation burdens or are invasive

Intra-operative 3-T MRI Scanner theatre suiteRheumatology patients require repeated imaging to monitor their condition, the increased capacity will allow more patients to be scanned, more often, thereby enhancing their treatment programme. Already Alder Hey is receiving referrals from all over the country to its acclaimed rheumatology service.

Patient Choice is driving activity at Alder Hey where decisions are made by parents on the basis of speed of access and convenience. This additional facility is expected to allow Radiology to reduce its MRI waiting times from 6 weeks to 2 weeks – one of the lowest in the country

Post Mortem imaging is occasionally clinically requested but increasingly this service is being requested by families who object to conventional post mortems on cultural grounds.

At a Glance – the Numbers

  • 75 additional patients a year will benefit from epilepsy scanning
  • At least one patient a week with a brain tumour will benefit from the new 3T intra-operative scanner
  • 380 patients a year will benefit from having an MRI scan with no radiation dose instead of a CAT scan
  • 275 patients will benefit from the waiting list for MRI scans being reduced down from 6 to 2 weeks
  • 125 additional cardiac patients can be scanned

Your comments and experiences

  • My granddaughter Felicity would not be here without the exceptionally talented, professional and super-caring Drs, Consultants, nurses and orthotic technicians at Alder Hey. They do everything in their power to help the children in their care and reassure their parents. They are the best any family of poorly children could possibly hope for as they constantly work above and beyond their call of duty. Bless them all for their dedication and commitment, particularly at this difficult time. My family cannot thank you all enough.

  • I would like to thank everybody for taking good care of my son during his brain surgery. He has made a full recovery thanks to all your hard work, you have save the life of 2 of my children now, I truely appreciate all you hard work and time and your dedication. Without the medical team at alder hey children’s hospital my children wouldn’t be here today so thankyou from the bottom of my heart xx

  • My son was on the neurosurgery ward for 3 nights due to fracturing his skull in an accident. We live in Rochdale so it seemed a bit far to travel when I was first told we would be going to Alderhey but I am so glad that we did come to this hospital as all the nurses and doctors were all amazing and couldn’t have done anymore. All the staff was friendly and always there to help when needed. My stressful time was definitely made more relaxed and felt more at ease under the circumstances

  • I’m finding it hard to find words to truly express my gratitude for the care my son Sam has received over the last week following a head injury. I would like to specifically offer my heartfelt thanks to Bernadetta Pettorini & her amazing team for expert assessment & emergency surgery on the day of his accident to his week of after care. I also want to extend my thanks to the amazing nurses & health professionals on 4A who were so caring, reassuring & expert in looking after Sam. The wonderful & lovely extended 4A team looking after food & cleaning/ hygiene & certainly not forgetting Pat of course – every children’s hospital should have one! 🙂 Thank you all – you were all very much part of the wonderful care Sam (& we) experienced during the last seven days. Finally, absolutely everybody we met at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital were so caring & so friendly – what a very special community of people you are… the world truly is a better place because of your dedication, expertise & care. All I can say is THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR LOOKING AFTER SAM. Love, Danny x

  • all the staff are phenominal especially Bernadetta Pettorini and Connor Mallucci you both saved my daughters life words cannot describe the amazing things you do on a daily basis

  • Hi

    Today 11 years ago our son Daniel was operated upon by Mr Conor Mallucci for acraniopharnygioma. 11 years down the road Daniel is doing great – he graduated as a Teacher 2 years ago and now he is reading a Masters programme in management.

    Being a foreigner and under shock with all that was happening around us was not easy but with the continuous help and support of all the staff at the ward we managed to go through this ordeal.
    No words can ever express our sincere gratitude for all the help and support we had.
    A sincere thanks to all and a word of encouragement to all children and parents on the ward.

  • My Son Jack has been receiving phenomenal care from the Neurological surgical team/ward 4a and also the Oncology team. Special thanks to Mr Connor Malucci, Dawn, all the staff on 4a, Dr James Hayden and Nicky Thorp in Oncology and the entire team. we cant thank you enough for all your help and support. You are all amazing people. THANK YOU !

  • The neuro team have been excellent. From the lovely Natasha who we spoke to before admission, to the nurses, Drs and support staff. Miss Petterini and her team have been great.

  • Words can not express the graditude I feel for Mr Malluci and his amazing team in the Neurosurgical department. My son had an operation lasting over 12 hours to remove a brain tumour and was fortunate to have access to the state of the art equipment and facilities at Alder Hey. Thanks to Mr Malluci and his team and their skills the operation was a complete success. You gave me my little boy back and shared your gifts with me we have been lucky to receive this world class service. All the staff on ward 4a have helped him to recover and they have all been kind, knowledgeable and thoughtful. I simply can not express how grateful I am for everybody’s input and help. Thank you to everybody for saving his life.

  • My son was here in 2015 for an operation for saggital even though it was the worst time of my life all of the staff were amazing and gave me lots of reassurance. He was checked a lot which i couldnt have appreciated more. And the staff always answered any concerns i had. Even the surgeons were brilliant and made me feel so much better when i picked him up from theatre. Even before all this the hospital backed me up for a referral and helped me fight to get him seen to. Absolutely fantastic and i truly admire how hard all the staff work

  • My son Connor was the first to benefit from this state of the art scanner and adjoining theatre back in Oct/Nov 2007 when undergoing operations for an infection on his brain. Not enough words can be said in thanks to all those who helped him get better. He is now enjoying his 2nd year at UCLAN doing his media degree with no signs of the trauma he went through. Alder Staff You Are All Amazing. Thank You.

  • also thank you to dr sinear (sorry for not spelling it right) and physo unit 🙂

  • thank you so much to all of the team i came in at april to have chiari decompression surgery, the care i received was beyond what i could of asked for, have to go for yet another MRI scan to check if the surgery worked as well as they thought, thank you to all the surgeons and nurses xxxxxxxx

  • I would like to say a massive thank you to all the staff on the neuro ward for helping me through all the problems and my brain surgery a special thank you to miss pettorini one of my surgeons you have helped me alot over the years.. its been 4-5 years now I think and although I still have a few problems I’m doing great thank you soo much xxxx

  • I’d like to say a big thank you to the team on the neuro ward, especially Conor Mallucci, Paul May and the nurses on HDU. I’ve been under Conor and the team since I was born because I have Post Haemorrhagic Hydrocephalus. I’ve had quite a few stays at Alder hey, one for the two ETVs at 3&6 months and the other for a VP shunt to be inserred at 9 yes. thankfully all is as well as it can be and I have had no problems since, touch wood.

  • Just like too thank all the staff so far for our little niece Willow Ward who had a succesfull tumor removed recently,our battle has just begun but we remain strong together,uncle Mark 🙂 lots of love xxx

  • A massive thank you to all nurses drs and surgeons on neuro ward and neuro science Matthew would like to say a special hello to urshula (nurse) he loves you 🙂 thank you all for your hard work love Matthews mum and dad and Matthew 🙂

  • Our son was recently diagnosed with a mid brain tumor and hydrocephalus. The treatment and care that he received was world class. Dr Conor melluci and Dr Matt Bailey and the whole neurosurgical team really do perform miracles everyday. We can never thank them enough for all that they did for our son. We were always kept informed and were listened to and had a massive amount of trust and belief in our surgical team. Also for all of their amazing care we thank the team of nurses, especially Mandy, Anthony, Emma, Emma and Emma, Sinead, Deborah and Ursula for whom nothing was ever too much trouble. We can never repay your kindness but wil always think of you as our Alder Hey family.

  • My son was told he needed decompression surgery for the treatment of Chiari. The staff on the admissions ward were amazing and helpful. After surgery all staff on Neurology Ward in HDU were wonderful with my son Bailey! Always there and helpful and answered questions in great detail.

    The ward nurses and doctors took the greatest care and were lovely with Bailey and we are as a family so grateful for all the care he received.

    Miss Pettorini is above all the best surgeon and was extremely caring about my son’s needs! I just can’t thank them all enough. 🙂

  • My grandson was diagnosed with a stage 3 brain tumour and thanks to Mr Parks,Miss Pettotini and everyone involved in the complete removal of the tumour, also ALL the specialist departments involved in his care. Words are just not enough to express the gratitude and
    admiration that I have for you all, you have given me my lovely grandson back with a good prognosis for his future. Bless each and everyone of you for your dedication, knowledge and fantastic care.

  • My grandson was diagnosed with a stage 3 brain tumour and thanks to Mr Parks,Miss Pettotini and everyone involved in the complete removal of the tumour, also ALL the specialist departments involved in his care. Words are just not enough to express the gratitude and
    admiration that have given me my lovely grandson back with a good prognosis for his future. Bless each and everyone of you for your dedication, knowledge and fantastic care.

  • Our world fell apart when our son was diagnosed with a brain tumour – stage 3 cancer. Thankfully with the skills of Mr Parks, Miss Pettorini and all the staff (Neurological Surgical, Oncology, Physiotherapy, Radiology and Ronald McDonald house) he is well on the road to recovery. We cant thank you all enough, you have saved his life.

  • My daughter had intra-operative MRI during her surgery for the removal of a brain tumour. Alongside this and the skills of the world class surgeons Miss Pettorini and Mr Mallucci, it has given her the best possible chance of a healthy future but most importantly with an excellent quality of life too. I could not be more grateful to you all for the service that you provide.

  • We cant thank the following people enough and owe everything to them.

    Mr Sinha for saving our Daughters life who was rushed in with a bleed on the brain without yours and your teams expertise we would of lost our daughter Chloe forever.

    Mr Curran and his team for all the care and support provided to chloe and family at such a horrible time.

    To all the nurses/doctors and physios that provided the best care possible to Chloe throughout her 6 weeks stay in hospital and helped her to make a full recovery i am pleased to say.


  • My son has been treated by miss burn, mr sinha and Mr duncan for hydrocephalus and pan cranstaniostois. Also thanks to Collette Sadler for her help as well. We travel half way across the country so my son received treatment by he best there is. Thankyou from Brandon and his family

  • I would just like to say another HUGE thankyou too all the staff on the Neurosurgery ward, when I found that I found out that I had a rare Colloid Cyst in my third Ventricle, I was worried, but I had complete faith in Mr Sinha because he was amazing, he told me everything he would do and made me re-assured, I am very grateful for what he’s done and the support they gave and still give now

  • My son Jack was treated for a rare skull base tumour by Mr Ajay Sinha. He is absolutely amazing. He did so much for Jack and always made us feel re-assured when he was explaining procedures to us. We will be forever grateful for the care and support they gave to us and still continue to do so.

  • I would like to express my thanks for the expert care and second-to-none nursing care on HDU following my daughter’s cranio operation. Many thanks to Mr Sinha, Miss Burn, Mr Duncan and the ongoing support of Colette Sadlers.

  • I cannot begin to put into words the great support and warmth that we received when Ben was treated for a brain tumour at Alder Hey and spent his time on the Neurosurgical ward. The staff are just amazing and they really care. NHS at its absolute best!!

  • Thankyou for all the care Abigail received in the first few weeks of her life, she’s now 17 weeks old and making amazing progress 🙂

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