Treatment Pediatric Brain Disorders Available in Acıbadem - ACIBADEM
Treatment Pediatric Brain Disorders Available in Acıbadem

Treatment Pediatric Brain Disorders Available in Acıbadem

Like adults, children can also suffer from neurological problems. Children may be born with birth defects or conditions that develop further later in their lives. These problems need to be treated as soon as possible. In Acıbadem Healthcare Group, the most complex pediatric brain disorders are treated by the pediatric neurosurgery team lead by Prof. Memet Özek, M.D. Acıbadem Pediatric Neurosurgery Department successfully operates 600 newborns, babies and children per year from all around the world.

Prof. Memet Özek, M.D, former president of European Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ESPN), has an outstanding career in pediatric neurosurgery. It is a niche and complicated area of medicine for most doctors, even for some neurosurgeons. Millions of children across the world, who suffer from different brain disorders such as cerebral palsy, brain tumors, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, spina bifida, or craniosynostosis, nevertheless need these specialists. There are multiple aftermath for these diseases. Some children may develop neurological deficits, lack of brain capacity. Others cannot walk and/or talk. If left untreated children with brain tumors may eventually die. All around world, there are limited pediatric neurosurgeons who treat these children. Prof. Memet Özek, who is the head of Acıbadem University Neurosurgery Department, is a world-renowned surgeon in this medical field. In addition to giving lectures to medical students, interns, and research fellows, he treats children from all around the world in Acıbadem Healthcare Group, İstanbul, Turkiye.

Cerebral Palsy and Spasticity

Cerebral palsy or CP, a neurological disorder that affects bodily movement and muscle coordination, is caused by brain damage that occurs before or during a baby’s birth, or during the first few years of babies’ lives. The most common reason for cerebral palsy is oxygen deprivation of the baby during birth, which might result in neurological deficits.

Cerebral palsy generally damages the areas of the brain controlling physical movements, and it can also lead to other health problems such as vision, hearing and speech impairment as well as learning disabilities.

Spasticity is mostly causes by CP. Spastic children’s muscles tend to be stiff and permanently contracted. They therefore walk uncontrollably and with difficulty.


Cerebral palsy cannot be cured entirely. However, a proper treatment could decrease the effects of CP and thus enhance the patients’ life quality.

  • Physiotherapy: It is applied to reduce contractions in the body and increase mobility before and/or after surgery.
  • Surgery: Acıbadem performs different types of surgeries to treat cerebral palsy: selective dorsal rhizotomy, botulinum toxin injections, selective neurotomy, deep brain stimulation and intrathecal baclofen pump. It depends on the etiology, clinical conditions and age of the patient. After the operation pain and spasticity levels reduce  and hand flexibility, walking patterns and functional mobility improve. The surgery also makes it possible for patients to perform the self-care activities.

Acıbadem has a multidisciplinary approach to cerebral palsy. A team of specialists including physiotherapist, pediatric neurosurgeon, orthopedist, and pediatric neurologist examine patients together and plan their treatment of spasticity. Acıbadem Pediatric Neurosurgery Department has performed over 1500 operations within this scope.

Brain Tumors

Brain tumors consist roughly 20% of all childhood tumors. Tumors can be classified as benign and malignant. Benign tumors are non-cancerous, they grow relatively slow, and do not spread to other parts in the brain and body. In contrast, Malignant tumors are cancerous, they grow rapidly, and they tend to spread to other parts of the brain and body. Childhood brain tumors generally stem from the brain’s own tissues.

Unfortunately, childhood brain tumors tend to be malignant. Medulloblastomas are the most common brain tumors in childhood. This tumor is malignant and occurs in posterior fossa, the area where the cerebellum and brainstem are located at the back of the head. It may affect muscle coordination, and bodily movement of the child.

As Prof. Özek states, “Treatment of childhood brain tumors demands high-level pediatric neurosurgery training and experience. They are unique. It is interesting that adults do not get certain tumors and certain adult tumors are not observed in children. A child’s brain is a developing organ. In adults we know, for example, the brain area which is responsıble for moving legs and articulating speech but they may be located elsewhere in children. In Acıbadem, we provide this special treatment to childhood brain tumors with our experienced pediatric neurosurgery team and advanced medical technologies.”


Pediatric brain tumors treatment is complicated. It is known that there are three treatment options for brain tumors: surgery, radiotherapy/radiosurgery, and chemotherapy. If the brain tumor is benign (non-cancerous), it is likely to be completely removed during the surgery. Since benign tumors do not interfere with normal brain tissues, they do not tend to reappear after surgery if the entire tumor was safely removed.

On the other hand, malignant (cancerous) brain tumors are more likely to interfere with normal brain tissues and function. Therefore, they more often cause symptoms and complications. Besides surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy have a key role in malignant tumors’ treatments.

“We have a great radiotherapy and pediatric oncology staff. We discuss the specıfıc condıtıons of each patıent wıth tumor so as to come up with a suitable treatment plan.” Prof. Memet Özek says.


Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects neurons in children. It stems from abnormal electrical activities and signals in the brain. It causes unprovoked seizures, reduces  children’s quality of life, and affects educational success. Epilepsy is more common in young children than it is in adults. Approximately 4-5% of all children experience a seizure at some point during their childhood. About 1% of children are diagnosed with epilepsy.


Epilepsy initially can be treated with medicine. There are different anti-epileptic drugs. If a medicine cannot treat the problem sufficently the doctor can apply one of the others. Nonetheless, 1 out of 4 children suffer from drug-resistant epilepsy. In those cases, seizures do not stop no matter which medication is applied. However, these seizures need to be stopped urgently as these children are at an increased risk of physical injury during seizure. A child’s brain is a developing organ and a certain number of cells die in each seizure. Thus, children’s brains cannot grow up to be normal. At these cases, epilepsy surgery is the best treatment option for children.

There are three types of pediatric epilepsy surgery:

  1. Resective surgery, during which Epileptic zone causing seizures is removed from the brain.
  2. Corpus callosotomy involves cutting the connection between the hemispheres of the brain.
  3. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is the process of implanting a device generally below the collarbone. It sends electrical impulses to the brain that can take control an abnormal electrical activity associated with seizures.


Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the brain. It is a frequent congenital neurological defect. It is seen in 2 out of every 1000 child in the world. It causes excessive cerebrospinal fluid to accumulate in brain cavities. Consequently, brain functions of the child might be affected negatively. During early infancy, hydrocephalus is detected by the family or pediatrician due to macrocephaly, i.e. exponentially large head. Pediatric hydrocephalus rarely develop throughout infancy, childhood, or adolescence.


For more than 25 years in Acıbadem Pediatric Neurosurgery Department, hydrocephalus has been treating with the endoscopic method. In this procedure, the pediatric neurosurgeon inserts a 2-3 mm diameter camera and endoscopic instruments into the brain. A small hole is dug in the floor of the third ventricle of the brain or a path is found to drain the excess water in the brain. In the end, cerebrospinal fluid flows toward the area where it can be re-absorbed by the body. This procedure is called endoscopic 3rd ventriculostomy.

According to Prof. Memet Özek, “We are using much thinner and cutting-edge endoscopes. We can operate the patients and discharge them the next day. If there is early diagnosis of hydrocephalus, the child can beat the disease without lasting damage.”

M. Memet Özek, M.D.
Professor of Neurosurgery

Professor Memet Özek is an expert in pediatric neurosurgery, with more than 40 years of clinical experience and patients from all over the world. Trained as a pediatric neurosurgeon in the USA, he is currently one of the best in Turkiye and the world for the treatment of complicated brain disorders in children. His special areas of interest are brain tumors, including deep-seated tumors of the brainstem, thalamus, and hypothalamus; epilepsy surgery; spasticity surgery; endoscopic surgery for congenital malformations, such as hydrocephalus. Prof. Dr. Memet Özek heads the Department of Neurosurgery at Acibadem University, School of Medicine. He is an active member of national and international professional organizations, author and co-author of 4 book editions, 30 book chapters, 117 papers in English, and numerous presentations and lectures in international meetings. President of the European Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ESPN) for 2008-2010.

About Acıbadem Altunizade Hospital

Established in 2017, Acıbadem Altunizade is the latest hospital of the leading private healthcare provider in Turkiye and the region Acibadem Healthcare Group. Its genuine architecture, cutting-edge technology, and clinical excellence provide the high-end patient experience the Acibadem brand is known for. Acıbadem Altunizade offers advanced diagnostic and treatments services in multiple medical specialties, including but not limited to oncology, neurosurgery, heart care, robotic surgery, cell therapies for pediatric and adult patients. All its features, from the triple hybrid operating theatre system to the self-disinfecting door handles, are designed to increase the efficacy and safety of the patients. With its 98.000 m2 indoor area, 350 beds capacity, 18 operating theatres, 75 intensive care beds, and parking lot for 550 vehicles, Acıbadem Altunizade is fully equipped to meet all patient needs.