The Division of Neurosurgery is responsible for the neurosurgical management of patients at the two internationally-renowned teaching hospitals affiliated with the University of Cape Town (UCT), treating patients from across the Western Cape as well as elsewhere in South Africa and abroad.
Our clinical platform enables us to teach students, train specialists and pursue cutting-edge research into conditions relevant to our clinical practice. We treat various diseases of the brain and spinal cord including traumatic brain injury, brain tumours, vascular diseases of the brain and various types of stroke, spinal disorders, congenital abnormalities, hydrocephalus, and functional disorders such as epilepsy.
Neurosurgery demands the highest standards of practice, while remaining mindful of the needs and priorities of a developing country.
We strive to offer our patients the most appropriate clinical care and provide an academic environment that nurtures honest reflection and innovative thinking.
Our team is made up of specialists, consultants, fellows, researchers and registrars. Our tradition of maintaining close ties with colleagues in private practice enables us to contribute to the care of patients across our community and to contribute to the growth and leadership of our specialty, nationally and internationally.
We provide intensive-care, high-care and general-ward level medical and nursing care at our dedicated neurosurgical facilities. We run operating sessions three days each week, with teams performing surgery concurrently. We have a strong emphasis on minimally-invasive interventions and have developed high-level expertise in neuroendoscopy, radiosurgery and interventional neuroradiology. We perform trauma and emergency neurosurgery on a 24 hour basis, seven days a week.
Our full complement of neurosurgical staff attend weekly outpatient appointments. In addition, various special multidisciplinary clinics provide care for patients with brain tumours, pituitary disorders and congenital conditions such as spina bifida, neurofibromatosis and craniofacial abnormalities.
Where we are
Our base in the state-of-the-art UCT Neuroscience Institute (NI) on the Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) campus reflects our vision for the modern neurosurgeon as an interventional neuroscientist. Located in the old J Block, the original home of neurosurgery at GSH, the NI provides an opportunity for daily interaction with clinical and basic neuroscience colleagues from across the faculty and the university, as well as unique facilities such as the Innovation Laboratory.
Associated Academic Hospitals
Our Division is responsible for the integrated care of neurosurgical patients at UCT's major teaching hospitals: Groote Schuur Hospital and the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. These Associated Academic Hospitals are integral components of the Health Service of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape, with their main functions being to provide patient care (especially at tertiary and higher levels), teaching and research.
Groote Schuur Hospital
Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) is one of the major teaching hospitals in South Africa. Founded in 1938 with a major expansion project in 1984 culminating in the “New Groote Schuur Hospital”, the hospital has just celebrated its 80th anniversary. At its inception, the hospital was intended to be ‘a South African and not a Cape Town institution’, training medical students from all over the country (and happily we can now say, from all over the continent).
The institution shot to world-wide fame in 1967 when Christiaan Barnard conducted the first human heart transplant there. The hospital provides care and training in all major disciplines of medicine on a total budget of close to R2.5 Billion with 900 beds and over 4,000 staff. The hospital treats over 43 000 in-patients and has almost 470 000 people attending outpatient clinics annually.
GSH has one of the largest neurosurgical patient loads in Southern Africa, treating approximately 3,500 outpatients and performing in excess of 1,000 neurosurgical operations annually. UCT’s Medical School is situated across the road from this tertiary care training hospital.
Groote Schuur is Dutch for ‘Great Barn’, named after the original estate that was established by Dutch settlers in the 17th Century and subsequently bequeathed to the nation by Cecil John Rhodes.
Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital
The adult services at GSH are complemented by the paediatric services at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Since the appointment of the first full-time paediatric neurosurgeon Dr Warwick Peacock 40 years ago, this service has established a leading reputation nationally and internationally.
UCT Private Academic Hospital
A highly specialised private hospital, the UCT Private Academic Hospital is located within Groote Schuur Hospital but is administered separately by Netcare in partnership with the University.