Meet Dr. Bruce MickeyDallas Neurosurgeon Specializing in Brain Tumors

Holder of the:
William Kemp Clark Chair of Neurological Surgery

Every brain tumor is unique. Over the past 30 years, neurosurgeon Bruce Mickey, M.D., has spent thousands of hours refining his skills and identifying and understanding the nuances of tumors so that he can remove them as safely and effectively as possible.

Dr. Mickey’s expertise has earned him the William Kemp Clark Chair in Neurological Surgery. He also serves as the Director of the Annette Strauss Center for Neuro-Oncology, and he’s been named a D Magazine Best Doctor every year since 2009 and a Texas Monthly Super Doctor since 2006. Even though such accolades are well-earned, Dr. Mickey notes that having surgical talent is only one part of the bigger picture of caring for people with brain tumors.

“It’s always a group effort,” he says. “The key to providing the best treatment for a brain tumor comes down to teamwork, and I’m part of a large, multidisciplinary team of people with expertise in every aspect of treating these tumors – not only with surgery, but also with radiation and chemotherapy.”

Dr. Mickey and his colleagues at UT Southwestern – including neurosurgeons Toral Patel, M.D., and Samuel Barnett, M.D. – focus their clinical efforts on getting the best possible surgical outcome in the removal of brain tumors of all types.

They believe that this focus on brain tumors improves their surgical outcomes. “As surgeons devoted to the treatment of brain and pituitary tumors, we gain experience and expertise that we wouldn’t have if we were each treating only 10 tumors a year instead of 100,” he says.

For tumors that can’t be completely removed, his team works closely with colleagues in radiation oncology to develop an alternate treatment approach.

Advancing the Treatment of Brain Tumors

In the last three decades, Dr. Mickey has seen continuing advances in imaging, surgical, and radiation technology, which have allowed for safer and more complete treatment of a variety of benign and malignant tumors.

“It is gratifying for me to see patients living longer and having better neurological function,” Dr. Mickey says.

Despite these advances, malignant tumors continue to lead to death and disability for many people, which is why Dr. Mickey and his team actively assist researchers at UT Southwestern who are seeking better ways to treat tumors that resist current treatment strategies.

“In recent years, researchers at the Annette Strauss Center for Neuro-Oncology have made significant contributions to understanding the metabolism of malignant tumors,” he notes. “We are poised to use this understanding to create new treatment strategies. It will be an ongoing process, but we are working together to move forward.”

Dr. Mickey believes collaboration is the only way to truly excel at treating brain tumors.

“Any success I’ve had in my career is largely due to my colleagues in neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, neuro-anesthesia, neuroradiology, and radiation oncology, as well as to the nurses and support staff. All of these people are essential,” he says. “The thing I’m the most proud of here is the collaborative nature of our efforts ­– that I am one part of this large and expert team of people.”

Epilepsy Surgery

Dr. Mickey also helped establish the surgical epilepsy program at UT Southwestern, which offers treatment for patients with epilepsy whose seizures can’t be controlled with medication.

“These patients may benefit from evaluation in an epilepsy monitoring unit to locate the origin of an epileptic seizure in the brain so that it may be surgically removed,” he says.

In 2014 Dr. Mickey and his colleagues in the epilepsy surgery program recruited neurosurgeon Bradley Lega, M.D., to their team. Dr. Lega brings to the program his expertise in stereo EEG, a procedure in which a surgical robot assists in the precise placement of electrodes within the brain so that a seizure focus may be accurately localized. Dr. Lega also has experience with the use of laser energy to inactivate an epilepsy focus if it cannot be surgically removed.