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3T MRI scanner

Paediatric Neurosurgery at Sheffield Children’s Hospital is a world-renowned centre where we treat children aged 0-19 who need surgery on their head, brain or spine.

In 2016 we performed over 380 surgeries, saw over 1,300 patients in clinics and received over 540 inpatients.

The neurosurgical service also includes weekly general outpatient clinics and weekly specialist clinics including neuro-oncology, spinal dysraphism, spasticity and epilepsy.

Specialist paediatric neurosurgery centre

Our intraoperative 3T MRI suite is the most advanced setup in the UK, putting Sheffield Children’s at the forefront of paediatric neurosurgery. Patients are scanned while an operation is in progress, and using these MRI scans in conjunction with sophisticated brain mapping technology gives our surgeons the most detailed view of the brain possible. The theatre is also designed to put children at ease with ambient lighting, sounds and cartoon characters of the patient’s choice projected onto the walls.

Sheffield Children’s Hospital is also one of the first centres in the world to perform a paediatric endoscopic resection of the odontoid PEG.

Conditions we treat

  • Craniofacial disorders
  • Chronic Pain
  • Dysraphism
  • Epilepsy
  • Head injuries
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Neuro-oncology (brain tumours)
  • Metabolic Bone Disorder
  • Movement disorders (in conjunction with Neurology)
  • Spasticity
    – Intrathecal Baclofen therapy
    – Selective dorsal rhizotomy
  • Spina bifida
  • Vascular anomalies
    – AVM
    – Moyamoya
    – Congenital
    – Aneurysm

Our Neurosurgery services are anchored with other dedicated paediatric specialties such as neurology, endocrinology, anaesthesia and orthopaedics.

Neurosurgery team

Our team includes four neurosurgeons, one clinical nurse specialist for neurosurgery, a lead nurse, two clinical nurse educators, a dedicated neurosurgical secretary, multidisciplinary team co-ordinator and database co-ordinator.

Neurosurgery facilities

Ward 5 is dedicated to neurosciences. We have neonatal neurosurgery unit access, a high dependency unit and an intensive care unit all with access to physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, play therapists, clinical psychotherapists, teachers and dieticians.

Sheffield Children’s Hospital is also the home of the National Centre for Paediatric Stereotactic Radiosurgery and is at the cutting edge of available technology.


Referrals are taken from a wide number of sources including GPs, hospital and community consultants and Accident & Emergency Departments.

Emergency referrals can be made initially to on-call neurosurgical service at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Elective referrals are seen as outpatients and emergency referrals are transferred directly to beds at the Children’s Hospital.

Occupational Therapy in NeurosurgerySpeech and Language Therapy in Neurosurgery
Occupational Therapists (OTs) work within part of the rehabilitation team for neurosurgery.

They assess for a wide range of problems which may include things like muscle stiffness or floppiness in hands/feet for which the OT may make splints to keep them in a good position.

If a child cannot sit up by themselves the OT may provide a chair (specialised seat) to use in the hospital to help with their posture.

Memory and concentration

The OT may see children if there are things they cannot do or are struggling to do such as washing and dressing or play activities. If needed the OT may do assessments to look at the way a child’s brain is managing with memory or concentration tasks. The OT may also offer advice on returning to school.

After discharge from hospital

While the child is in hospital the OT will talk to parents/carers about any equipment that may need to be ordered for home in relation to seating, bathing etc.

Sometimes there is the need for the OT to carry out a home visit to see how a child will manage around the home.

On discharge from hospital the OT will refer to a community therapist to continue any ongoing input.

A Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) is a specialist in the development of eating and drinking and speech and language skills. Language skills means how we use and understand language and includes how a child manages with social situations. An SLT is experienced in the potential effects of illness or injury on these skills.

Why your child might see an SLT

A referral to an SLT may be made if:

  • your child’s ability to eat or drink safely has been affected
  • your child’s ability to understand or respond to what is said has been affected

What an SLT does

Eating and drinking

If there is a problem to do with eating and/or drinking, the SLT will come and assess your child. This will primarily be to ensure that your child is swallowing safely. If the swallow is not safe, and the food or drink ‘goes down the wrong way’, it could go into the lungs and cause a chest infection. Sometimes the SLT will recommend that some textures are safer than others and advise about what is safest to eat or drink.

Language – understanding and responding

If there is a problem here, the SLT will advise on how best to encourage communication. The SLT will arrange for any resources necessary to support communication and reduce frustration.

In the early stages following brain injury children vary in their progress and formal assessment is not particularly useful.

After discharge from hospital

Your child may have a continuing requirement for speech therapy after going home.

If you live in Sheffield, follow-up will be arranged at the hospital or Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

If you live outside Sheffield, your child will be referred to your local SLT services.

The focus of the SLT at this stage is to assess a range of language and associated thinking skills, in order to support your child when they go back to school.

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