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Pediatric Neurosurgery Team at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon 

Teri Williard, Philippe Mercier, MD, Samer Elbabaa, MD, Anne Gildehaus, LaDonna Willis


Pediatric Neurosurgery Department  

The Pediatric Neurosurgery Department at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, providing specialized care for patients near and far. Our physicians are trained to provide exceptional care for problems related to your child's brain, spinal cord and central nervous system.

Contact Us

To make an appointment, please call 314-268-4010.


Our Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program provides comprehensive treatment of brain tumors in children. To reach the Brain Tumor Clinic, please call 314-268-4000. 


Common Diagnoses Treatments Provided
Signs and Symptoms Additional Resources
Preparing for Your Visit Meet the Team

Common Diagnoses

Our pediatric neurosurgeons provide care in the following areas:

Injury of the head or spinal cord

Oncology – tumors in the head or spinal cord

Functional Neurosurgery

Functional abnormalities such as hydrocephalus (excessive fluid on the brain)

Epilepsy that is nonresponsive to medication

Cerebral Palsy Baclofen pump implantations (pump releases the muscle relaxant Baclofen directly into the child’s spinal fluid)

Chiari malformations (low-lying cerebellum that blocks the flow of spinal fluid)

Congenital malformations – birth defects causing abnormalities in the structure of the central nervous system

Craniosynostosis – flat bones of a child’s skull fuse together early, resulting in an abnormally shaped head

Arachnoid cyst – a sac filled with fluid in the head or spine

Spina Bifida – an opening in the embryonic tube caused by vertebrae that have formed abnormally

Central Nervous System infections


Brain abscesses

Signs and Symptoms

Children are most commonly referred to our Neurosurgery Department by another physician.  However, parents can call directly if problems continue or they wish to seek a second opinion.  This is especially encouraged if the child has been seen by an adult neurosurgeon and is considering an operation.

Common symptoms of children experiencing neurological issues include:

Seizures that are nonresponsive to medical treatment



Difficulty walking

Headache, usually associated with nausea and vomiting

Interruptions in sleep due to nausea or vomiting

Developmental delays

Preparing for Your Visit

You have a right to request a CD-ROM of the results of digital imaging tests that your child has had previously, such as MRIs and CT scans.  Our neurosurgeons prefer to see these images before your visit.  You can ship the CD to the hospital or email individual image files directly to our Neurosurgery Department.  If these files can not be sent ahead, you should bring the images and any other test results with you to get the most from your initial visit.

During the first visit, one of our neurosurgeons will sit down with your family to discuss your child’s conditions.  Afterward, any additional digital imaging tests that have not been preformed and are necessary for your child’s symptoms will be provided and later evaluated. 

A follow-up visit is then scheduled to explain the causes of your child’s symptoms and discuss a treatment plan.  Everything related to your child’s medical condition is explained to him or her at an age-appropriate level. If surgery is required, it is usually scheduled following the second visit.  The surgery rooms are kid-friendly, equipped with DVD players to play your child’s favorite movie, and are decorated with brightly painted murals to provide the most pleasant environment possible for your child.

Treatments Provided

It is important to keep in mind that a visit to our Neurosurgery Department does not always result in surgery. In fact, it is less likely that a child will not require it.  In many instances, neurosurgery is not necessary.  Only about half of trauma patients and less than ¼ of children with chiari malformations require an operation.  Your child’s doctor will make an assessment of what is best for your child and discuss all the options with you.

If surgery is not required, you will be referred back to your child’s physician.  Otherwise, follow up visits after an operation are determined by the conditions of your child’s diagnosis.  Further digital imaging may be done to make sure the problem has been corrected. 

Additional Resources

American Association of Neurological Surgeons

Congress of Neurological Surgeons

Society of Neurological Surgeons

Meet the Team

Samer K. Elbabaa, MD, FAANS, FACS - Director

Saleem Abdulrauf, MD, FACS

Richard Bucholz, MD, FACS

Philipee Mercier, MD, PhD

Anne Gildehaus, PNP, AC - Email Anne

Teri Williard, RN, BSN

LaDonna Willis, Medical Secretary

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