Ali Krisht, MD Takes on Brain Tumors

Cancer is a battle no one wants to face.

It can be especially difficult for a patient to be told by a doctor that surgery is too risky.

However, one neurosurgeon in Arkansas is standing up to cancer, giving those with rare brain tumors a chance at life.

“It's very unique to have people trust you with their life. This is not an easy thing,” said Dr. Ali Krisht, Director of the Arkansas Neuroscience Institute at CHI St. Vincent.

Dr. Ali Krisht is the Director of the Arkansas Neuroscience Institute at CHI St Vincent. Known around the world for his work on rare brain tumors, Dr. Krisht specializes in surgeries most doctors would describe as inoperable.

“There are tumors which historically have not been approached because they are in critical parts of the brain or the base of the skull, where trying to remove these tumors will lead to a lot of side effects and also sometimes major complications,” said Dr. Krisht.

It's a barrier Dr. Krisht is determined to break, taking in patients from across the country who were told surgery wasn't an option.

“Some of those, it’s true, if you operate on them it’s not possible to remove them, but there’s a lot being missed they are operable, they can be removed, you can give more longevity to these kids,” said Dr. Krisht. 

Dr. Krisht may be among only a few neurosurgeons in the world to take the risk, but he is working to change that. Neurosurgeons travel across the globe to the Arkansas Neuroscience Institute to train alongside him.

“At any one time we usually have between seven and 10 neurosurgeons from around the world, from Mexico, from Argentina, from Russia,” said Dr. Krisht. “It's very rewarding to know that what we do is spreading to the rest of the world.”

His goal is to give patients who may have otherwise been told "no,” a second chance.

“To say that something is inoperable, that we cannot do anything anymore, when one day this could be your son, your wife your mom, your dad is really unfair. We should be able to do better,” said Dr. Krisht.

At any one time, there are between seven and 10 neurosurgeons from around the world studying at ANI. They spend up to a year in a fellowship program, learning to perform these types of surgeries back home.

In addition to education in Arkansas, Dr. Krisht travels to other countries to teach.