Meet Dr. Bruno Braga
Pediatric Neurosurgeon in Dallas
As a pediatric neurosurgeon, Bruno Braga, M.D., engages in every aspect of neurological and spinal disorders care for his patients. While neurosurgeons who treat adults generally focus in only one area, Dr. Braga deals with all of them.
“Pediatric neurosurgery is unique in its ability to take care of all types of neurosurgical problems, including venous or arterial diseases, traumatic injuries, spinal problems, movement disorders, seizure disorders, and tumors,” Dr. Braga says.
Dr. Braga was drawn to this field because of the breadth of techniques it requires, but also because of the difference he’s able to make in the lives of his young patients.
Spinal disease, for example, can be a most devastating condition; patients are at risk of losing the movement and sensation of the limbs, the ability to control their bodily functions, even the capacity to breathe on their own. But Dr. Braga offers hope.
“With appropriate and timely treatment, these dreadful problems can be avoided or reverted,” Dr. Braga says.
Operating on spines that are still developing is a delicate skill. Implanting rods and screws in still-growing spines can have serious implications for a child’s growth and mobility.
“We sometimes need to put instruments such as screws into the bones of the spine, which in children can be very small,” he says. “Sometimes the screws are larger than the bone itself. And there are important blood vessels, nerves, and the spinal cord right there. The margin for error is very small.”
Microsurgery for removal of brain tumors is another one of Braga’s passions. He and his colleagues in the pediatric brain tumor program work with radiologists, oncologists, and radiation oncologists to choose the most appropriate treatment option for each child. If an operation is the way to go, they combine surgical expertise with the latest navigation techniques that allow for safe removal of the tumor and preservation of the surrounding brain function.
A multidisciplinary approach and new technology can make a difference in survival and quality of life not only for children with brain tumors, but also for every neurosurgical problem his group sees, Dr. Braga says.
“Our group provides excellent care in part because we all have specialty training that allows us to treat any neurological problem out there, and in part because we have support from our UT Southwestern colleagues in oncology, neurology, the ICU, and our excellent nurses.”
Dr. Braga believes that it’s important to spend time with his patients and their families before – and after – deciding on the best treatment.
“After their surgeries, I follow my patients for as long as I think they need. If all I pay attention to is the initial outcome of a surgery, then I’m just a technician. I want to know that what I’m doing has made a positive difference in that young one’s life. That’s what is important to me,” he says.