Section of Neurosurgery

Dr. Garnette Sutherland and the Project neuroArm team host Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada.

Dr. Steven Casha

Section Head: Dr. Steven Casha

THE SECTION OF NEUROSURGERY at the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services is fully integrated with its partner sections of Neurology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) and Translational Neurosciences within the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. 

With this highly integrated and programmatic approach, sub-specialized care is provided to our patient population. This population includes the geographic region of southern Alberta as well as eastern British Columbia in the Kootenay Region and western Saskatchewan, encompassing an approximate catchment population of 2.5 million. Care is provided by 16 neurosurgeons, all of whom are sub-specialists and also provide general and emergency neurosurgical services. 

Specialized programs include cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery, epilepsy neurosurgery, adult hydrocephalus, neuro-oncology, skull base surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, peripheral nerve surgery, functional neurosurgery, stereotactic radiosurgery and spine surgery. 

In partnership with neurology, rehabilitation medicine, orthopedic surgery, neuroradiology, and radiation oncology, our members provide the highest quality of sub-specialized care for this patient population. 

The total operative volume delivered by neurosurgeons was 2,335 cases in 2017-18, with 2,150 cases in the operating theatres at Foothills Medical Centre and 182 at Alberta Children’s Hospital. There were approximately 100 cases of bedside and Intensive Care Unit procedures, about 300 cases of endovascular procedures in the neuro-interventional suite, and about 100 radiosurgery cases.

Highlights

  • We remain very proud that the Charles Taylor Memorial Lectureship pays homage to Calgary’s first neurosurgeon. In 2018, Dr. Ben Warf, a pediatric neurosurgeon and prior recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship recipient from Harvard Medical School, was the 14th Annual Charles Taylor lecturer. 
  • Numerous respected professors and neurosurgeons visited us this past academic year, including Dr. Robert Harbaugh (University of Pennsylvania), and Dr. Steve Lownie (Western University).
  • For the 11th year running, the highly regarded Spine and Peripheral Nerve Anatomy and Surgery Course exposed neurosurgery and orthopedic residents from across the country to the nuances of spine and peripheral nerve surgery in a hands-on, supportive environment using didactic and cadaveric methods.

Education

The neurosurgery residency training program continues to be the pride of the section. Two new residents are accepted each year, within a current allotment of 17 trainees. The program is known for providing training in a collaborative and collegial environment where the highest quality of service and education are delivered. 

In addition to hands-on and didactic teaching of residents, the faculty contributes significantly to undergraduate medical education teaching in the small group curriculum, as well as clerkship rotations. 

Numerous fellows joined our section in various sub-specialties, which is another positive indicator of Calgary’s strong reputation for excellent training and care.

Research

Members continue to be involved in intensive research, with several of them having peer-reviewed and funded basic science and/or clinical research programs. 

Many of these members partner with the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and several faculty members have been granted full or affiliated membership.

Areas of research strength and accomplishment include clinical trials in spinal cord injury research, basic bench research in nerve regeneration, deep brain stimulation, traumatic brain injury, laboratory work using brain tumour-initiating stem cells, and intravascular stent development. We also proudly house one of the world’s foremost laboratories in surgical robotics.