Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Neurological Surgery

Chiari and Craniovertebral Junction Program

The Chiari and Craniovertebral Junction (CVJ) program in the Department of Neurological Surgery is a world leading comprehensive program that, through Feinberg-affiliated hospitals, offers care for patients suffering from disorders affecting this region. It represents a collaborative effort amongst expertise in the fields of neurology, radiology, sleep medicine, and neurological surgery.

Our world-class experts utilize cutting edge technologies to manage many of the diseases that affect the craniovertebral junction with excellent outcomes, and minimal morbidity in a predictable fashion.


The department hosts multiple academic events related to chiari and craniovertebral junction topics every year. Through our affiliated hospitals and care sites, residents and fellows can work with faculty on cases of congenital disorders including chiari malformation, basilar invagination, atlas assimilation, os odontoideum; treatment of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis; surgical intervention of trauma such as occipitocervical dissociation, atlantoaxial rotatory subluxation and fractures of the cervical spine; and operative management of tumors including meningioma, nerve sheath tumors, chordoma, and metastatic disease.


Our faculty conducts diverse research, including clinical trials, technology development, and basic research.

Current Studies and Technological Development Work

Patient Care

The craniovertebral junction (CVJ) or the upper cervical spine is defined as the region encompassing the occiput, the first and second cervical vertebra. This region represents a transitional area between the brain and the spine. Due to its unique structure and function many of the diseases affecting this area are challenging.

The disorders that affect this area can be encountered in infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. These can be congenital, neoplastic (tumors), inflammatory, traumatic, and degenerative.

Through the Feinberg-affiliated care site, department faculty treat the following types of disorders:




Neoplastic (Tumors)

Meet the Faculty

Learn more about our doctors via faculty profiles:


Nader S. Dahdaleh, MD, Co-director
Orin Bloch, MD
James P. Chandler, MD
George Cybulski, MD
Aruna Ganju, MD
Tyler R. Koski, MD
Joshua M. Rosenow, MD
Zachary A. Smith, MD
Matthew C. Tate, MD


Tord D. Alden, MD, Co-director
Robin M. Bowman, MD
Arthur J. Depatri, MD
Amanda Muhs Saratsis, MD
Tadanori Tomita, MD

Affiliated Neurology Faculty

Yvonne M. Curran, MD