The mission of the Neurosurgery Department is to guarantee excellence in care, education and research, with an international outlook. We have a particular focus on the needs and preferences of patients with diseases of the nervous system that require surgical treatment.
At the Neurosurgery Department, we apply the most advanced technologies and a multidisciplinary approach in a context that allows us to train neurosurgeons with strong ethical and moral values. All this, as part of the public health system that is accessible to all citizens.
Our Department is divided into three physically separate care sections located in three areas of the Vall d'Hebron hospital complex: the General Hospital, the Traumatology, Rehabilitation and Burns Hospital and the Maternity and Children's Hospital. Finally, the Neurotraumatology and Neurosurgery Research Unit, which integrates all of the Department’s translational research, complements these three care sections, applying the knowledge garnered from basic research to the prevention and treatment of clinical cases.
The General Hospital is home to most of the Neurosurgery Department’s activity, housing most of its human resources, patients, beds and financial resources. The team is made up of a chief clinician, seven specialist doctors and a Head of Department. Three of the doctors share their activities with the Maternity and Children's Hospital, and form the main group of physicians devoted to paediatric neurosurgery. The other doctors also collaborate on neuropaediatric care, both with emergency care and low-prevalence pathologies, in which our Department is super-specialized. Adult patients are admitted here who have had cranioencephalic trauma and a programmed pathology of the rachis (spine).
Portfolio of services
The care offered by the Neurosurgery Department covers three fundamental aspects: general neurosurgery (adult patients), neurotraumatology and paediatric neurosurgery. Despite this differentiation, we are a cross-cutting department that addresses the following diseases:
General neurosurgery in adult and paediatric patients
- Haemorrhagic neurovascular pathology (cerebral aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, hard fistulas)
- Ischemic neurovascular pathology (decompressing surgery in malignant infarction of the middle cerebral artery, cerebral revascularisation)
- Hydrocephaly and complex pathology of the dynamic of the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord
- Malformations in the craniocervical hinge
- Surgery of the base of the skull
- Evacuation of abscesses and treatment of infectious pathologies of the central nervous system
- Spasticity not responsive to pharmacological treatment
- Acute and degenerative spinal pathologies
- Repair of congenital malformations of the nervous system
Neurotraumatology in adult and paediatric patients
- Acute surgery of cranioencephalic trauma
- Multimodal neuromonitoring in severe cranioencephalic trauma
- Surgical repair of cranial fistulae of cerebrospinal fluid
- Surgery to repair cranial vault injuries (cranioplasty)
The educational mission of any neurosurgery department at a high-tech hospital does not end with the training of undergraduate students and specialised training, but rather we are devoted to continuing training of all doctors with links to neurosurgery.
Our Department organises several clinical sessions, as well as annual doctoral courses and different continuing education programmes aimed not only at residents and neurosurgeons in the Department, but also specialists in intensive care, anaesthesia and, in some cases, nursing staff. On the other hand, most of our sessions offer a considerable number of continuing education credits.
The training programme for residents at the Neurosurgery Department includes a general educational programme, a rotation scheme, a plan detailing the objectives and surgical skills that must be acquired, the obligation to comply with the "Resident’s Logbook" and an appropriate evaluation system.
One essential aspect that is often overlooked is the importance of the role of nursing staff in neurosurgical care. We are keenly aware of this, and for years now the neurosurgery nursing staff at the General Hospital and the Neurotraumatology ICU have been integrated in the educational activities of the Department. Also, a symposium specific to nursing is included in the International Symposium on the Monitoring of Intracranial Pressure and Cerebral Haemodynamics that is celebrated biannually. The management of this event, as well as the contents and speakers chosen, falls to the nursing staff, who have total autonomy in organising their Symposium.
Dr. Josep Sánchez de Toledo Codina, head of the Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Department, tells us about a Department that has laid the foundations for the specialism in Spain. He also remembers the evolution of transplants from haematopoietic stem cells and progenitors, from the beginning, buying the material at a shop in Barcelona city centre, to the more than 1,200 transplants that have now been performed.
Dr. Francesc Bosch, Head of the Haematology Department, talks about the complexity of the Department, which has turned Vall d’Hebron into a reference centre in haematology thanks to its commitment to transplants and the use of new treatments. The Clinical Trials Unit helps a lot, giving access to treatments for complex patients.
The Master's Degree in Biomedical and Translational Research is an official programme created to train researchers with the requisite combination of scientific knowledge and skills to contribute to the future success of biomedical research.
Fermín Fernández Álvarez, Porter Coordinator, explains the importance of the role these professionals play in the hospital. After 36 years at Vall d’Hebron, Fermín is a real master of the ways things are done. He says that a porter has to combine humility, discretion and safety with a single goal: that patients receive human and friendly treatment.