Neurotrauma has been a major focus of the Neurosurgery Department since E.S. Gurdjian, M.D., the first chairman, established his practice at Detroit Receiving Hospital in 1931, and later began his pioneering research in the mechanisms and prevention of head and spine injuries.

The "new" Detroit Receiving Hospital, opened in 1980, is an American College of Surgeons verified Level I trauma center, and is recognized as one of the busiest hospitals dedicated to emergency care in the country.

The neurosurgical service collaborates with a multi-disciplinary team to manage critically ill head injured patients in the 14-bed William R. Darmody Neurointensive Care Unit, and complex spine injuries in the spine Intensive Care Unit, specializing in the latest technological and research advances. A dedicated state-of-the-art neurosurgical operating suite is available 24 hours a day for emergency and elective procedures. Reconstructive spine procedures, including instrumentation and implantation, are also performed at Detroit Receiving Hospital.