Benjamin C. Kennedy, MD

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Benjamin Kennedy, MD, is an attending neurosurgeon and the Director of Epilepsy and Functional Neurosurgery in the Division of Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Areas of Expertise: Epilepsy, Spasticity, Dystonia, Movement disorders, StereoEEG, Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, Deep brain stimulation, Functional neurosurgery, Brain tumors, Spine tumors, Complex spine, Endoscopic surgery, Spinal dysraphism, Chiari malformations
Locations: Main Hospital

Appointments and Referrals: 1-800-TRY-CHOP (1-800-879-2467)


The highest level of care comes from a multidisciplinary approach to any medical problem, and this is embraced wholeheartedly here at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). In neurosurgery we collaborate closely with experts from every field of pediatric medicine and surgery. I have a broad interest in all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery, including epilepsy and functional neurosurgery, brain and spine tumors, congenital and traumatic spine surgery, and craniovertebral junction abnormalities. 

It is a great privilege to serve as Director of Epilepsy and Functional Neurosurgery at CHOP. In our Pediatric Regional Epilepsy Program, I have the pleasure of working with our epileptologists, neuroradiologists, neuropsychologists, social workers and pathologists to develop a highly personalized approach to each epilepsy patient. When a child’s epilepsy is not able to be controlled with medication, we formulate the most minimally invasive surgical plan to address the problem. We can avoid large operations for many children who require epilepsy surgery with a variety of techniques. These include robotic-assisted stereoEEG, which is percutaneous depth electrodes, for precise monitoring of the epileptic network and identification of the source of seizures. We use laser ablation for corpus callosotomy, hypothalamic hamartoma, mesial temporal sclerosis, or small, deep seizure sources. We employ purely disconnective techniques for hemispherotomy through a small craniotomy, and provide vagal nerve stimulators that do not require brain surgery at all. What inspires me is providing children and their families with the best possible seizure control while minimizing discomfort, and getting them back to their lives as quickly as possible. Our research is focused on understanding the complex interplay among epilepsy genetics, EEG, and clinical information to provide both better medical and surgical therapies. 

In our multidisciplinary cerebral palsy and spasticity clinics, I work with our rehabilitation doctors, physical and occupational therapists, neurologists, orthopaedists, social workers, neurophysiologists, nursing and other staff to develop a multi-faceted treatment plan for patients with spasticity, which sometimes involves neurosurgery, including selective dorsal rhizotomy or baclofen pump placement. In our deep brain stimulation program, I collaborate with our movement disorder neurologists to identify children with dystonia who will benefit from deep brain stimulation. When we are able to improve our patients’ control and function or help a child walk with these procedures, it is deeply gratifying. 

Education and Training

Medical School

MD - Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, NY


Neurosurgery - Columbia University - New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY


Pediatric Neurosurgery - Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Titles and Academic Titles

Director, Epilepsy and Functional Neurosurgery

Attending Neurosurgeon

Devon Pytel Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery

Conditions Treated

Departments and Services




Baumgartner ME, Flanders TM, Madsen PJ, Tucker AM, Fung F, Kennedy BC. Burr Hole Hemispherotomy-Modification of Trans-Sylvian Peri-Insular Technique: 2-Dimensional Operative Video. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2024 Jan 30. doi: 10.1227/ons.0000000000001074. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38289087.


Yi Zhou, Yijing Su, Shiying Li, Benjamin C. Kennedy, Daniel Y. Zhang, Allison M. Bond, Yusha Sun, Fadi Jacob, Lu Lu, Peng Hu, Angela N. Viaene, Ingo Helbig, Sudha K. Kessler, Timothy Lucas, Ryan D. Salinas, Xiaosong Gu, H. Isaac Chen, Hao Wu, Joel E. Kleinman, Thomas M. Hyde, David W. Nauen, Daniel R. Weinberger, Guo-li Ming & Hongjun Song: Molecular landscapes of human hippocampal immature neurons across lifespan. Nature Jul 2022.

Joshua Katz, Caren Armstrong, Svetlana Kvint, Benjamin C. Kennedy: Stereoelectroencephalography in the very young: Case report. Epilepsy Behav Rep May 2022.


Kennedy BC, Katz J, Lepard J, Blount J: Variation in Pediatric Stereoelectroencephalography Practice Among Pediatric Neurosurgeons in the United States-Survey Results. J Neurosurg Pediatr Page: 1-9, Jun 2021.


Cameron Brimley, Vivek P Buch, Jared M Pisapia, Benjamin C Kennedy: Aventricular hemispherotomy: technical note. J Neurosurg Pediatr Aug 2020.

Fabian Munoz, Greg Jensen, Benjamin C Kennedy, Yelda Alkan, Herbert S Terrace, Vincent P Ferrera: Learned Representation of Implied Serial Order in Posterior Parietal Cortex. Sci Rep 10(1): 9386, Jun 2020.


Heuer GG, Madsen PJ, Flanders TM, Kennedy BC, Storm PB, Taylor JA. Separation of Craniopagus Twins by a Multidisciplinary Team. N Engl J Med. 2019 Jan 24;380(4):358-364. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1805132.

Tomlinson SB, Wong JN, Conrad EC, Kennedy BC, Marsh ED: Reproducibility of interictal spike propagation in children with refractory epilepsy. Epilepsia 60(5): 898-910, May 2019.


Kennedy BC, Kelly KM, Anderson RCE, Feldstein NA. Isolated thoracic syrinx in children with Chiari I malformation. Childs Nerv Syst, 2016 Mar;32(3):531-4.

Kennedy BC, Brown LT, Komotar RJ, McKhann GM. Stereotactic catheter placement for Ommaya reservoirs: A large single-center series. J Clin Neurosci, 2016, May;27:44-7.


Kennedy BC, D’Amico RS, Youngerman BE, McDowell MM, Hooten KG, Couture D, Jea A, Leonard J, Lew S, Pincus D, Rodriguez L, Tuite GF, DiLuna M, Brockmeyer DL, Anderson RCE. Long-term growth and alignment after occipitocervical and atlantoaxial fusion with rigid internal fixation in young children. J Neurosurg Pediatr, 2015 Oct 9:1-9.

Kennedy BC, Nelp TB, Kelly KM, Phan MQ, Bruce SS, McDowell MM, Feldstein NA, Anderson RCE. Delayed resolution of syrinx after posterior fossa decompression without dural opening in children with Chiari I malformation. J Neurosurg Pediatr, 2015 Aug 28:1-8.

Kennedy BC, Brown LT, Komotar RJ, McKhann GM. Frameless stereotactic Ommaya reservoir placement: efficacy and complication comparison with frame-based technique. Stereot Funct Neuros, 2015, 93(6):418-8.

Goldstein HE, Kennedy BC, Anderson RCE, Feldstein NA. “Bilateral occipital endoscopic choroid plexus cauterization for persistent hydrocephalus following frontal endoscopic third ventriculostomy and choroid plexus cauterization - The "Bowling Ball" technique.” Childs Nerv Syst, 2015 Oct 12.

Kennedy BC, Kelly KM, Phan MQ, Bruce SS, McDowell MM, Anderson RC, Feldstein NA. Outcomes after suboccipital decompression without dural opening in children with Chiari malformation type I. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2015 May 1:1-9.

Kennedy BC, Cloney MB, Anderson RCE, Feldstein NA. Superior parietal lobule approach for choroid plexus papillomas without preoperative embolization in very young children. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2015 Apr 10:1-6.

Surapaneni K, Kennedy BC, Yanagihara TK, DeLaPaz R, Bruce JN. Early cerebral blood volume changes predict progression after convection-enhanced delivery of topotecan for recurrent malignant glioma. World Neurosurg. 2015 Mar 12.


Kennedy BC, McDowell MM, Yang PH, Wilson C, Li S, Hankinson TC, Feldstein NA, Anderson RC. Pial synangiosis for moyamoya syndrome in children with sickle cell anemia: a comprehensive review of reported cases. Neurosurg Focus. 2014 Jan 36(1).

D’Amico R, Kennedy BC, Bruce JN. Neurosurgical Oncology: Advances in operative technologies and adjuncts. J Neurooncol. 2014 Jun 27.

Sonabend A, Basnal M, Guarnieri P, Lei L, Amendolara B, Soderquist C, Leung R, Yun J, Kennedy B, et al. The transcriptional regulatory network of proneural glioma determines the genetic alterations selected during tumor progression. Cancer Res. 2014 Mar 1;74(5).


Kennedy BC, Showers CR, Anderson DE, Anderson L, Canoll PC, Bruce JN, Anderson RC. Tumor-associated macrophages in glioma: Friend or Foe? J Oncol. 2013 May 8.

Anderson R, Kennedy B, Yanes C, Garvin J, Needle M, Canoll P, Feldstein N, Bruce J. Convection-enhanced delivery of topotecan into diffuse intrinsic brainstem tumors in children: Report of two cases. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2013 Mar; 11(3):289-95.


D’Amico R, Lei L, Kennedy BC, Sisti J, Ebiana V, Crisman C, Christensen JG, Gil O, Rosenfeld S, Canoll P, Bruce JN. The addition of Sunitinib to radiation delays tumor growth in a murine model of glioblastoma. Neurol Res. 2012 Apr;34(3):252-61


Kennedy BC, Shimato S, Anderson RCE, Bruce JN. Defining the mechanisms of CD8 T cell tumor tolerance. Immunotherapy. 2011 Jan;3(1):23-6.

Kennedy BC, Bruce JN. Surgical approaches to the pineal region. Neurosurgical Clinics of North America, 2011 Jul.

Yanagihara TK, Kennedy B, Surapaneni K, Bruce JN. Power in quantitative diffusion MRI of tumor response strategies for future studies. Acad Radiol. 2011 Dec 15.

Bruce JN, Fine RL, Canoll P, Yun JP, Kennedy BC, Rosenfeld SS, Sands SA, Lai R, Yanes CL, Bagiella E, DeLaPaz RL. Regression of recurrent malignant gliomas with topotecan by convection-enhanced delivery. Neurosurgery, 2011 May 10.


Kennedy BC, Maier LM, D’Amico R, Mandigo CE, Fontana EJ, Waziri A, Assanah MC, Canoll P, Anderson RC, Anderson DE, Bruce JN. Dynamics of central and peripheral immunomodulation in a murine glioma model. BMC Immunol. 2009 Feb 18; 10:11.




Sinha, S., Kennedy, B.C., Heuer, G.G., Huh, J.W., Lang, SS. (2022). Pediatric Head Injury. In: Mattei, P. (eds) Fundamentals of Pediatric Surgery. Springer, Cham.


Posters and Presentations

Lectures by Invitation


Kennedy B, et al. “Neurosurgery Resident Well-Being” Invited Oral Presentation, American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, 2017, L.A., CA


Kennedy B, et al. “Neurosurgery Resident Well-Being” Invited Oral Presentation, Society of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, 2016, Indianapolis, IN


Kennedy B, et al. “Isolated Thoracic Syrinx in Children with Chiari I Malformation” Poster, CNS/AANS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery Annual Meeting, 2015, Seattle, WA

Kennedy B. “Life in the Next Accreditation System: A Resident’s Perspective.” Invited Oral Presentation, Society of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, 2015, Miami, FL

Kennedy B, et al. “Delayed Resolution of Syrinx After Posterior Fossa Decompression Without Dural Opening in Children with Chiari I Malformation” Oral Presentation, Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, 2015, New Orleans, LA

Awards and Honors

2012, Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism & Excellence in Teaching Award

2009, Donald Palatucci Prize, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

2009, Peterson Scholarship, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

2007, Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship

2006, Student Success Network Teaching Award, Columbia University College of P & S

2005, NIH Medical Student Summer Research Grant

2002, Northwestern Alumni Association Scholastic Achievement Award

2002, Buntain Family Endowed Football Scholarship, Northwestern University

Editorial and Academic Positions

2016, Reviewer, Pediatric Neurosurgery

2015-present, Journal Oversight Committee, Journal of Graduate Medical Education