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David M. Frim, MD, PhD

Ralph Cannon Professor of Surgery

Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics

Chief, Section of Neurosurgery

David M. Frim, MD, PhD, is an internationally recognized clinical neurosurgeon and neurosciences researcher who specializes in the care of children and adults with congenital neurosurgical problems. In addition, his clinical interests extend to the treatment of brain and spine tumors, epilepsy, and pediatric spine disorders. His innovative approaches to hydrocephalus, Chiari malformation, syringomyelia, and myelodysplasia/tethered cord syndrome
attract patient referrals from national and international sources.

Dr. Frim performs the following neurosurgical procedures with expertise whether treating problems that are simple or complex:

  • Craniotomy
  • Laminectomy
  • Skull base surgery
  • Spinal cord untethering
  • Neuroendoscopy
  • Hydrocephalus shunting
  • Pediatric disc removal or spinal fusion

Dr. Frim has built a large, well-respected clinical practice that encompasses all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery with an added emphasis on adults with “pediatric” or congenital problems. In addition, he has developed expertise in brain and spine tumors (especially tumors associated with genetic syndromes such as neurofibromatosis with acoustic neuroma), endoscopic and stereotactic brain surgery and surgical epilepsy.

An active medical researcher and educator, Dr. Frim serves as principal investigator on laboratory and clinical studies related to brain injury, intracranial pressure dynamics, and cognitive outcome after treatment of hydrocephalus and
Chiari syndrome. He has received support from the National Institutes of Health and other sources for these projects. Dr. Frim has also served as Residency Program Training Director in neurosurgery at the University of Chicago and maintains a busy schedule of lectures and educational presentations on neurosurgical topics.

Practice Locations

Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine
5758 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital
5721 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

University of Chicago Specialty Suite
at NorthShore University HealthSystem
1000 Central Street
Suite 800
Evanston, IL 60201

Year Started Practice


Board Certifications

Neurological Surgery
Pediatric Neurological Surgery

Medical School

Harvard Medical School

Internship and Residency

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston


Children's Hospital, Boston


American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American College of Surgeons
American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons
Chicago Neurological Society
Congress of Neurosurgical Surgeons
Society of Neurological Surgeons

Languages Spoken



Office Phone

(773) 702-8544

Office Fax

(773) 702-3518

Office Postal Address

David M. Frim, MD, PhD
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 3026
Chicago, IL 60637

Physician Photo

Clinical Interests

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Patient Stories

Within a couple of months after Dr. Frim performed surgery to restore the natural looseness of 2-year-old Brinley Olson's tethered spinal cord, the toddler showed significant developmental progress.

The children's hospital where Dan Kricke was previously treated does not provide hydrocephalus care for adults. When he needed a shunt revision at age 25, Kricke sought out Dr. Frim. Now, he's headache-free and ready for his future.

Stephanie Milda's family traveled from Croatia seeking Dr. Frim's Chiari expertise. Today, Anita Milda credits Dr. Frim for saving her daughter's life.

Dr. Frim treated hydrocephalus patient Kimi Sorensen since she was a young girl. Although Kimi is now an adult, she can continue receiving care from Dr. Frim for years to come.

Watch a video about baby Francesca, one of Dr. Frim’s craniosynostosis patients, and her journey through surgery to recovery.

Daniel Hutcheson was born with a rare congenital disorder. When his pain wouldn’t respond to medication, Dr. Frim surgically removed a piece of bone the size of the bottom of a teacup. Daniel has not experienced that pain since he woke up from the surgery.

Dr. Frim and a teen who battled a brain tumor inspired a father to run a marathon and to start a fund to support neurosurgical research.

Read More About Dr. Frim

As a teenager, competitive swimmer John Mordach underwent brain tumor surgery performed by Dr. Frim. Read a Chicago Tribune article about John's "story of a dream realized and a nightmare overcome."

Dr. Frim is part of a multispecialty team that provides care for both adults and children with congenital anomalies of the nervous system, including syringomyelia, hydrocephalus, Chiari malformation, Spina Bifida, and more.

Learn about the Discover Camp, an annual retreat where some of Dr. Frim’s patients and their families enjoy specially planned activities in a safe, supportive environment.

Explore the neurosurgery program at the University of Chicago.

Unraveling the World of Epilepsy (PDF) describes how Dr. Frim and other University of Chicago physicians and scientists are advancing pediatric epilepsy treatment and research.

View a video about Comer Children's Hospital that features Dr. Frim and one of his patients.

Selected Publications

View a partial list of Dr. Frim's publications through the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database.