Michael T. Lawton MD


Professor in Residence of Neurological Surgery, Tong Po Kan Endowed Chair

Chief, Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Surgery Programs

Director, Cerebrovascular Disorders Program

Principal Investigator, Cerebrovascular Research

Michael Lawton MD is the Tong-Po Kan Endowed Chair, Professor of neurological surgery, and Vice-Chairman of the department. He is chief of vascular neurosurgery, specializing in the surgical treatment of aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, cavernous malformations, and cerebral revascularization, including carotid endarterectomy. As chief of the busiest cerebrovascular service on the West coast for over 14 years, he has experience in surgically treating nearly 3000 brain aneurysms and over 500 AVMs. He is also trained in the endovascular treatment of aneurysms.

Dr. Lawton conducts his research at the UCSF Center for Cerebrovascular Research, a collaborative research group funded by a program project grant from the National Institutes of Health that investigates the physiology of cerebral circulation and the pathophysiology of vascular malformations. His basic science investigations study the formation, underlying genetics, and rupture of brain AVMs, as well as the hemodynamics, rupture, and computational modeling of brain aneurysms. His clinical investigations study the anatomy of microsurgical approaches to vascular lesions and efficacy of aneurysm, AVM, and bypass surgery.

He has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles, over 40 book chapters, and two textbooks, including his single-author book, Seven Aneurysms: Tenets and Techniques for Clipping. His awards include the Young Neurosurgeon Award from the World Federation of Neurological Societies, the Harold Rosegay Teaching Award, and the Diane Ralston Clinical and Basic Science Teaching Award. He has given over 400 invited lectures nationally and internationally, including visiting professorships at 18 neurosurgical institutions.

Read about Dr. Lawton's current research ►

Education, Training, and Previous Positions

1986: BS, Brown University
1990: MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
1990-1991: General Surgery Internship, Johns Hopkins Hospital
1991-1997: Neurosurgical Residency, Barrow Neurological Institute
1994-2000: Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Arizona State University
1995-1996: Fellowship in Cerebrovascular/Skull-base Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute
2008 – 2011: Fellowship in Endovascular Surgery, University of California, San Francisco

Selected Professional Memberships and Appointments

American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Cerebrovascular Section of the AANS and CNS
American Academy of Neurological Surgery
Western Neurological Society
San Francisco Neurological Society
Bay Area Stroke Society

Selected Honors and Awards

1996: Sigma Xi
1996: Resident Research Award, Rocky Mountain Neurosurgical Society
1997: Resident Research Award, Rocky Mountain Neurosurgical Society
1997: Young Neurosurgeon Award, World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies and International Congress of Neurological Surgery
2005: Harold Rosegay Teaching Award, Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF 
2006: Diane D. Ralston Clinical and Basic Science Teaching Award, Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF 
2007 – Present: Top Doctor, Castle Connolly and American Registry, Boca Raton, FL
2007 – Present: Best Doctors in America, Best Doctors, Aiken, SC
2009 – Present: America’s Top Surgeons, Consumers’ Research Council of America, Washington, DC
2010 – Present: Guide to America’s Top Surgeons, SLD Industries, Simi Valley, CA

Selected Recent Publications

Lawton MT. Selecting therapy for complex aneurysms. World Neurosurg 2011;75(3-4):408.

Taub PR, Fields JD, Wu AH, Miss JC, Lawton MT, Smith WS, Young WL, Zaroff JG, Ko NU. Elevated BNP is Associated with Vasospasm-Independent Cerebral Infarction Following Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. Neurocrit Care. 2011 Apr 9. [Epub ahead of print].

Walker EJ, Su H, Shen F, Choi EJ, Oh SP, Chen G, Lawton MT, Kim H, Chen Y, Chen W, Young WL. Arteriovenous malformation in the adult mouse brain resembling the human disease. Ann Neurol 2011;69(6):954-62.

Gabarrós A, Young WL, McDermott MW, Lawton MT. Language and motor mapping during resection of brain arteriovenous malformations: indications, feasibility, and utility. Neurosurgery 2011;68(3):744-52.

Clark AJ, Lu DC, Richardson RM, Tihan T, Parsa AT, Chou D, Barbaro NM, Kunwar S, Weinstein PR, Lawton MT, Berger MS, McDermott MW. Surgical technique of temporary arterial occlusion in the operative management of spinal hemangioblastomas. World Neurosurg 2010;74(1):200-5.

Kim YB, Young WL, Lawton MT; UC SF BAVM Study Project. Parafalcine and midline arteriovenous malformations: surgical strategy, techniques, and outcomes. J Neurosurg 2011;114(4):984-93.

Mikhak B, Weinsheimer S, Pawlikowska L, Poon A, Kwok PY, Lawton MT, Chen Y, Zaroff JG, Sidney S, McCulloch CE, Young WL, Kim H. Angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) gene polymorphisms and risk of brain arteriovenous malformations. Cerebrovasc Dis 2011;31(4):338-45.

Kanematsu Y, Kanematsu M, Kurihara C, Tada Y, Tsou TL, van Rooijen N, Lawton MT, Young WL, Liang EI, Nuki Y, Hashimoto T. Critical roles of macrophages in the formation of intracranial aneurysm. Stroke 2011;42(1):173-8.

Gao P, Chen Y, Lawton MT, Barbaro NM, Yang GY, Su H, Ling F, Young WL. Evidence of endothelial progenitor cells in the human brain and spinal cord arteriovenous malformations. Neurosurgery 2010;67(4):1029-35.

Huang AP, Arora S, Wintermark M, Ko N, Tu YK, Lawton MT. Perfusion computed tomographic imaging and surgical selection with patients after poor-grade aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neurosurgery 2010 Oct;67(4):964-75.

Mirzadeh Z, Sanai N, Lawton MT. The azygos anterior cerebral artery bypass: double reimplantation technique for giant anterior communicating artery aneurysms. J Neurosurg 2011;114(4):1154-8.

Lu DC, Lawton MT. Clinical presentation and surgical management of intramedullary spinal cord cavernous malformations. Neurosurg Focus 2010;29(3):E12.

Sanai N, Auguste KI, Lawton MT. Microsurgical management of pediatric intracranial aneurysms. Childs Nerv Syst 2010;26(10):1319-27.

Jun P, Ko NU, English JD, Dowd CF, Halbach VV, Higashida RT, Lawton MT, Hetts SW. Endovascular treatment of medically refractory cerebral vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2010;31(10):1911-6.

Chang EF, Gabriel RA, Potts MB, Berger MS, Lawton MT. Supratentorial cavernous malformations in eloquent and deep locations: surgical approaches and outcomes. Clinical article. J Neurosurg 2011;114(3):814-27.

Sanai N, Mirzadeh Z, Lawton MT. Supracerebellar-supratrochlear and infratentorial-infratrochlear approaches: gravity-dependent variations of the lateral approach over the cerebellum. Neurosurgery 2010;66(6 Suppl Operative):264-74.

Lawton MT, Kim H, McCulloch CE, Mikhak B, Young WL. A supplementary grading scale for selecting patients with brain arteriovenous malformations for surgery. Neurosurgery 2010;66(4):702-13.

Sanai N, Zador Z, Lawton MT. Bypass surgery for complex brain aneurysms: an assessment of intracranial-intracranial bypass. Neurosurgery 2009;65(4):670-83.

Chang EF, Gabriel RA, Potts MB, Garcia PA, Barbaro NM, Lawton MT. Seizure characteristics and control after microsurgical resection of supratentorial cerebral cavernous malformations. Neurosurgery 2009;65(1):31-8.

Waldron JS, Halbach VV, Lawton MT. Microsurgical management of incompletely coiled and recurrent aneurysms: trends, techniques, and observations on coil extrusion. Neurosurgery 2009;64(5 Suppl 2):301-15; discussion 315-7.

Waldron JS, Lawton MT. The supracarotid-infrafrontal approach: surgical technique and clinical application to cavernous malformations in the anteroinferior Basal Ganglia. Neurosurgery 2009;64(3 Suppl):86-95.

Hetts SW, Narvid J, Sanai N, Lawton MT, Gupta N, Fullerton HJ, Dowd CF, Higashida RT, Halbach VV. Intracranial aneurysms in childhood: 27-year single-institution experience. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2009;30(7):1315-24.

Sanai N, Tarapore P, Lee AC, Lawton MT. The current role of microsurgery for posterior circulation aneurysms: a selective approach in the endovascular era. Neur2(6):1236-53.
Lawton MT, Quinones-Hinojosa A, Sanai N, Malek JY, Dowd CF. Combined microsurgical and endovascular management of complex intracranial aneurysms. Neurosurgery 2008;62(6 Suppl 3):1503-15.
Sanai N, Fullerton H, Karl TR, Lawton MT. Aortocarotid bypass for hemispheric hypoperfusion in a child. J Neurosurg Pediatrics 2008;1(4):343-7.
Narvid J, Hetts SW, Larsen D, Neuhaus J, Singh TP, McSwain H, Lawton MT, Dowd CF, Higashida RT, Halbach VV. Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulae: clinical features and long-term results. Neurosurgery 2008;62(1):159-67.
Frenzel T, Lee CZ, Kim H, Quinnine NJ, Hashimoto T, Lawton MT, Guglielmo BJ, McCulloch CE, Young WL. Feasibility of minocycline and doxycycline use as potential vasculostatic therapy for brain vascular malformations: pilot study of adverse events and tolerance. Cerebrovasc Dis 2008;25(1-2):157-63.
Johnston SC, Dowd CF, Higashida RT, Lawton MT, Duckwiler GR, Gress DR; CARAT Investigators. Predictors of rehemorrhage after treatment of ruptured intracranial aneurysms: the Cerebral Aneurysm Rerupture After Treatment (CARAT) study. Stroke 2008;39(1):120-5.
Boussel L, Wintermark M, Martin A, Dispensa B, Vantijen R, Leach J, Rayz V, Acevedo-Bolton G, Lawton M, Higashida R, Smith WS, Young WL, Saloner D. Monitoring Serial Change in the Lumen and Outer Wall of Vertebrobasilar Aneurysms. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2007;[Epub ahead of print].
Achrol AS, Kim H, Pawlikowska L, Trudy Poon KY, McCulloch CE, Ko NU, Johnston SC, McDermott MW, Zaroff JG, Lawton MT, Kwok PY, Young WL. Association of tumor necrosis factor-alpha-238G>A and apolipoprotein E2 polymorphisms with intracranial hemorrhage after brain arteriovenous malformation treatment. Neurosurgery 2007;61(4):731-40.
Sanchez-Mejia RO, Lawton MT. Distal aneurysms of basilar perforating and circumferential arteries. Report of three cases. J Neurosurg 2007;107(3):654-9.
Kim H, Sidney S, McCulloch CE, Poon KY, Singh V, Johnston SC, Ko NU, Achrol AS, Lawton MT, Higashida RT, Young WL; UCSF BAVM Study Project. Racial/Ethnic differences in longitudinal risk of intracranial hemorrhage in brain arteriovenous malformation patients. Stroke 2007;38(9):2430-7.
Dispensa BP, Saloner DA, Acevedo-Bolton G, Achrol AS, Jou LD, McCulloch CE, Johnston SC, Higashida RT, Dowd CF, Halbach VV, Ko NU, Lawton MT, Martin AJ, Quinnine N, Young WL. Estimation of fusiform intracranial aneurysm growth by serial magnetic resonance imaging. J Magn Reson Imaging 2007;26(1):177-83.
Lawton MT, Lu DC, Young WL; University of California, San Francisco Brain Arteriovenous Malformation Study Project. Sylvian fissure arteriovenous malformations: an application of the Sugita classification to 28 surgical patients. Neurosurgery 2007; 61(1):29-38.