John Birknes, MD
Joseph Dilustro, MD
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The pediatric neurosurgery team of CHKD's Surgical Group provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment of cranial, spinal and peripheral nerve disorders in infants, children and adolescents. All services are provided in a child-friendly atmosphere that eases worries and fears of children and their parents.

What conditions do you treat?

What services do you offer?

  • We work with plastic surgeons at the CHKD Craniofacial Center to treat children with conditions such as cleft palate, craniosynostosis, craniofacial syndromes and tumors.
  • We provide care to patients with spina bifida at the CHKD Spina Bifida Clinic.
  • Neurosurgeon John Birknes, MD collaborates with CHKD orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists to treat scoliosis.
  • In the CHKD Neuro-Oncology Program, a multidisciplinary service for patients with brain and spinal cord tumors, we provide evaluation and treatment along with multiple specialists in one central location.

Does your staff have special training?

Yes. Dr. Dilustro is board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Dr. Birknes is fellowship trained in pediatric spinal deformities and scoliosis.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment?

That depends on what kind of insurance you have. If you have an HMO, you must:

  • Get a referral from your child's primary care physician before you call to make an appointment.
  • Make sure that your referral has not expired. Many are good for only 30 days, so check yours before you come to your appointment. If your referral has expired, call your primary care physician and explain your situation. In most cases, your primary care physician will provide a new or extended referral.
  • Bring the referral with you to the appointment. If you do not have a referral or if the referral you have is expired, your HMO will not pay for your appointment.

If you have fee-for-service insurance or a PPO, you do not need a physician's referral to make an appointment.

We offer in-depth information about insurance in our Billing and Insurance section.

How do I make an appointment?

For more information call our Health Line at (757) 668-7500.