Dilan Ellegala, M.D.
Meet our Founder
About Virginia Surgeon Dilantha B. Ellegala
The neurosurgeon who pioneered the Sonospine® procedure, Dr. Dilan Ellegala, has been on the leading edge of ultrasound research since 2000. Graduating with Honors from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, he went on to a neurosurgical residency at the University of Virginia. He spent a year as Senior Registrar at Auckland Hospital, New Zealand gaining expertise in cranial neurosurgery and then went on to become the Fellow in Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Tumor Neurosurgery at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He remained on staff at Harvard as a Clinical Instructor and had a distinguished career as an assistant professor of Neurosurgery at Oregon Health and Science University and the Medical University of South Carolina, after which he became the Founding Director of the Neuroscience Institute in Lynchburg, Virginia.He has authored clinical research papers, has been at the forefront of ultrasound technology development, holds multiple patent claims in ultrasound technology, and has spent years advancing the traditional spine surgery approach. Sonospine® takes minimally invasive spinal surgery into the future with advanced surgical ultrasound and its sonosculpt® procedure, which uses high frequency vibration of the tip of the ultrasonic tool allowing the spine surgeon to precisely remove bone and disc, millimeter by millimeter, and minimize disruption to the normal anatomy of the spine. This precision achieves a greater level of accuracy with more complete decompression of entrapped nerves, resulting in more complete resolution of pain with fewer complications and avoiding painful spinal fusion.
Dr. Ellegala has treated leaders of countries, ambassadors, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. In addition to his pioneering work in the US, he is a testament to the transformational power of teaching and the ever-present potential for change in the world as demonstrated through his training of health care workers in remote Tanzania to perform brain and spine surgery. His story was featured in the book, “A Surgeon in the Village: An American Doctor Teaches Brain Surgery in Africa”.
Today, what began as one doctor teaching another has become the NGO Madaktari (Swahili for “doctors”) that has grown into a group that has sent hundreds of doctors to the developing world to serve as mentors and to create a sustainable new model for global health based on Dr. Ellegala’s “train-forward” philosophy. His groundbreaking work in global medical education is documented in the book, A Surgeon in the Village: An American Doctor Teaches Brain Surgery in Africa, by Pulitzer-nominated journalist Tony Bartleme, and is best described as “A lyrical, inspirational and altogether rewarding account of first- and third-world surgeons working together to perform neurosurgery miracles in the heart of Africa” by Tom Brokaw (NBC news anchor and author). Dr. Ellegala and his wife Carin have four children.
Dilan Ellegala, M.D., FAANS
CEO and Surgeon-in-Chief
- Diplomat, American Board of Neurological Surgery
- Executive Board International Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons
- Board, Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery
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Founder and Board Member
Madaktari Africa, 501c3
Chairman, Department of Neurosciences
Lynchburg General Hosptial
Lynchburg, Virginia 24501
Centra Neurosciences Institute
Centra Health System
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