South Texas Health System Children's Expands Pediatric Neurosurgery Service to Rio Grande Valley

Friday, February 23, 2024

For nearly 18 years, South Texas Health System Children’s has been dedicated to providing exceptional pediatric care across several subspecialties, all delivered by specialists who understand the importance of tending to each child’s emotional, social and developmental needs. Now, in partnership with Mark Lee, MD, PHD, a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon with affiliations with Baylor College of Medicine and CHRISTUS Children’s, STHS Children’s has officially expanded its services to offer dedicated pediatric neurosurgical care for the first time in the Rio Grande Valley.

One in five children will live with a neurologic condition, such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy and spina bifida, according to the Child Neurology Foundation, and the number of neurosurgeons available to treat them remains scarce. In fact, the United States is projected to face a deficit of 1,200 neurosurgeons by 2025, according to a report by Physicians Thrive.

To provide local support for children living with neurological disorders, as well as those with brain and spinal tumors, South Texas Health System Children's partnered with Dr. Lee, MD, who has more than 35 years of experience and serves as the chief of neurosurgery at CHRISTUS Children's Hospital, to launch pediatric neurosurgical services in Edinburg.

Through this partnership with South Texas Health System Children’s, Dr. Lee will hold clinic hours the second Tuesday of every month at STHS’ Pediatric Comprehensive Care Clinic, located at 4302 S. Sugar Rd., Suite 205 in Edinburg.

Get a Pediatric Neurosurgery Consultation

If your child requires a pediatric neurosurgery consultation, please speak with your child's doctor about a referral to visit Dr. Lee. Local pediatric providers may email the clinic at

During his clinic hours, Dr. Lee will focus on performing less complex neurosurgeries such as the treatment of hydrocephalus, a disorder caused by an abundance of fluid in the brain; spinal bifida; and treatment of newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit — procedures that do not typically require an extended hospital stay for patients. He’ll also perform consultations on pediatric patients as requested by local pediatricians or neurologists, as well as see children currently having to leave the Valley for routine follow-up care with a neurosurgeon for pre-existing conditions.

There’s also the potential of treating Chiari malformations, a common neurological condition in children that causes problems with the spinal cord and intractable headaches. In most cases, a patient could be discharged 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.

“We are beyond excited to partner with Dr. Lee to provide much-needed pediatric neurosurgery care to the children in our community,” said Kimberly Davis, Administrator, STHS Children’s. “There are a vast number of conditions that a pediatric patient could experience that would be benefit from this pediatric neurosurgery specialty service, with many of these problems unique to the pediatric population, making a pediatric specialized neurosurgeon an invaluable resource.”

“It’s important to highlight that it’s not just about treating the urgent issues, it’s about ensuring the continuity of care that these patients require,” Davis continued. “Many neurosurgery patients require follow-up throughout their childhood and adolescence, and having the ability for children to continue this follow up without having to leave the Valley is priceless.”

The establishment of Dr. Lee’s Edinburg clinic hours is part of a partnership between STHS Children’s and CHRISTUS Children’s to provide pediatric neuroscience care for South Texas. To meet that goal, CHRISTUS is recruiting pediatric neurosurgeons, expecting to have a total of four by the end of the year. The staffing would enable them to build their presence and potentially offer more complete neurosurgical care in the Valley.

Eventually, Dr. Lee hopes to develop the clinic into a complex pediatric neuroscience program with other providers.

"My philosophy is — if we can take care of the kids where their families live, that's the right thing to do and so the first step is to establish a clinic,” Lee said. "We're going to focus on the community and doing the best that we can to help the families locally.”

"Families won’t have to travel several hours for a clinic visit,” Lee added. “They can travel just five or ten minutes and see me here. It's all about trying to take care of kids where they live.”