The neurosurgeons at UC Davis Children’s Hospital are committed to setting the standard for the surgical treatment of infants and children with neurologic diseases. In cooperation with pediatric experts across UC Davis Health, the hospital’s pediatric neurosurgery services provide advanced clinical care and surgical intervention for children suffering from diseases that affect the developing brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system.

 Neurosurgical problems seen by pediatric neurosurgeons are often quite different from those commonly seen by adult or general neurosurgeons. Because pediatric neurosurgical problems often are present for life, children with nervous system problems frequently require close, ongoing follow-up from childhood — sometimes as early as the newborn period — through the teenage years. As a result, pediatric neurosurgeons have special, long-term relationships with their patients and their families.

Our neurosurgeons diagnose, treat, and manage problems affecting children’s nervous system and head and spinal deformities, including:

  • Problems and injuries of the brain, spine, or nerves
  • Gait abnormalities (spasticity)
  • Birth injuries (weakness of arms and legs)
  • Epilepsy and movement disorders
  • Brain and spinal cord tumors
  • Neurovascular disorders
  • Spina bifida
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Craniosynostosis

Our team

With years of experience treating children with complex neurological disorders, our team combines compassion and clinical expertise to give your child the best care available. Associate Professor Marike Zwienenberg, a specialist in pediatric neurological surgery, is fellowship trained and board certified by the Marike ZwienenbergAmerican Board of Pediatric Neurosurgery. She is an expert in the treatment of brain tumors, hydrocephalus, craniofacial disorders, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and spinal dysraphism (spinal cord abnormalities caused by malformation of the spinal column during fetal development). She is part of the fetal surgery team performing intra-uterine repair of myelomeningocele and routinely uses minimally invasive surgery (endoscopy) to treat disorders such as craniosynostosis and hydrocephalus. Her research interests include studying the effects of injury to the developing brain and its long-term impact on neurological functioning. She is particularly interested in the damage that moderate brain injury can have on the cognitive development of young children and teenagers. She has developed pediatric brain injury models that will allow neurosurgeons to better understand the pathophysiology of injury and develop more targeted future interventions. Her clinical interests include optimizing the care pathways for children with traumatic brain injury.