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History of UN

Early Beginnings

Neurosurgery has had a presence at LSU Health Shreveport since 1968 when the Division of Surgery appointed private practice neurosurgeons, Dr. Heinz Faludi, Dr. Frederick Boykin, and Dr. Loyd Megison, to assist the newly formed LSU Health Shreveport Medical School. From those early beginnings, the field of neurosurgery flourished and grew to become one of the most reputable departments at LSU Health Shreveport under the successful leadership of Dr. Edward Benzel, Dr. John Lucas, Dr. Anil Nanda, and Dr. Brian Willis.

In 1977, Dr. Donald Smith joined the medical school staff, establishing the first neurosurgical service at LSU Health Shreveport, and in 1980, Dr. Ed Benzel joined the faculty as the Chief of Neurosurgery in the newly formed Division of Neurosurgery within the Department of Surgery. Under Dr. Benzel’s  direction from 1980 to 1988, the patient population and the neurosurgical service grew significantly.

The number of cases provided a great deal of exposure and experience to the General Surgery residents and medical students that rotated through his “Service III.”

Dr. Anil Nanda joined the faculty in 1990 as Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery and Dr. Brian Willis joined the staff in 1992, bringing with him much-needed experience in pediatric, stereotactic and trauma neurosurgery. Doctors Smith, Nanda, and Willis, proved to be a successful partnership, stabilizing the neurosurgical service and providing a strong foundation for the growth of the Division to become a department in 1995. Dr. Nanda served as the founding Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at LSU Health Shreveport.

In the following years, the department grew in both size and the scope of the neurosurgical services. In January 2000, the department became the first in the state to offer patients Gamma Knife radiosurgery, and in February of 2002 the department was awarded a fully accredited neurosurgery residency program, the first new residency program at LSU Health Shreveport in ten years.

the Team

In 2007, the Neuro-Interventional Suite was established, providing state of the art technology including 3D rotational angiography, 3D road mapping and CT. That same year, Dr. Bharat Guthikonda, a skull base neurosurgeon and known for his meticulous surgical skills and deep interest in teaching, joined the department.

Dr. Anthony Sin, a graduate of the LSU Health Shreveport neurosurgery residency program, joined the department in 2008 providing expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal disorders and spinal cord injuries.

In 2010, Dr. Hugo Cuellar, a neuro-interventional radiologist was added to the department faculty as a neurovascular and endovascular neurosurgeon specializing in stroke. That same year, Dr. Christina Notarianni, a second graduate of the LSU Health Shreveport neurosurgery residency program, joined the department as a pediatric neurosurgeon, one of only three pediatric neurosurgeons in the state of Louisiana. 

In 2015, Dr. Hai Sun brought joined the department, providing a key resource for the department in his extensive basic science research experience and bringing new epilepsy research development and treatment to the Shreveport-Bossier area.

Since November 2017, Dr. Willis has served as the Interim Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and continues to grow the department and maintain its reputation as a leader in neurosurgery in the South.