Neurosurgery - Referral Guidelines

The Division of Neurosurgery is a regional, national, and international destination for newborns and children with disease, trauma, or malformation of the brain, spine, or nervous system.

Hundreds of procedures are performed every year, with excellent outcomes. Children’s National neurosurgeons define the standard of care by integrating into all procedures advanced neuro-imaging and neurophysiological monitoring. Our neurosurgeons routinely use minimally invasive strategies when appropriate.

All aspects of neurosurgical consultation and treatment are offered with appointments available as rapidly as possible.

Diagnostic services and treatment are offered for all conditions requiring pediatric neurosurgery, including:
  • Brachial plexus reconstruction
  • Brain and spinal cord trauma
  • Brain and spinal cord tumors
  • Cerebrovascular disorders
  • Chiari malformations
  • Craniofacial disorders
  • Epilepsy - surgical therapeutics
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Movement disorders – including spasticity
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Peripheral nerve reconstruction
  • Skull base disorders including craniocervical disorders
  • Spinal dysraphism – including spina bifida/tethered cord
  • Tumors – brain and spinal cord

At Children’s National, we value the importance of well-informed and well-equipped health providers. Here are some of the resources frequently called upon to care for our patients. 

Learn more about our neurosurgery referral guidelines for brain tumors, spinal cord tumors, epilepsy, functional, hydocephalus, chiari malformations, spina bifida tethered cord, and cerebrovascular.


We currently have 3 major types of appointments for headache patients: urgent headache access, chronic multidisciplinary clinic, and behavioral pain medicine appointments.

  • Urgent headache appointments – patients should call 202-476-HEAD from 8:30am-4pm M-F or email headache@childrensnational.org and ask for an “urgent headache appointment” to be scheduled within 5 days of the call with one of our headache providers in the Fairfax PSV, Annapolis, Laurel, Rockville, or DC locations. They will be seen for a 30-60 min appointment with one of our headache specialists and be provided with a comprehensive assessment and management plan.
  • Chronic multidisciplinary clinic appointments - patients should call 202-476-HEAD from 8:30am-4pm M-F or email headache@childrensnational.org and ask for an “chronic multidisciplinary headache appointment”. Patients will be scheduled in the next available appointment (currently booking 3 months in advance) to have a multidisciplinary appointment with both neurology and behavioral pain medicine. A comprehensive evaluation and management plan will be provided. The team will determine if additional management is appropriate including pain focused cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, biofeedback, nerve blocks, acupuncture, or infusion treatment.
  • Behavioral pain medicine appointments - You must place the order from the outpatient encounter you last saw them. Under orders you type “Refer Pain Clinic” and then select the option for “Pain Med Psy” as shown below. This is if they have already seen a neurologist and need to be seen by behavioral pain medicine only. Families will be called once the order is placed and they are next on the queue.

Tea's Story

Tea's Story

On Tea Abbadini’s thirteenth birthday, she started feeling sudden pain on the right side of her lower abdomen that her parents thought was appendicitis. A few months later on Christmas Eve, Tea’s hand cramped up for 10 minutes and, on New Year’s Eve, she got her first back cramp. Her back cramp was so bad that it curved her to the right and caused her to walk leaned over for a few hours.

Read More of Tea's Story