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Alexander A. Khalessi, MD, MS, FAANS, FACS, FAHA


Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery

Associate Professor of Surgery and Neurosciences


Alexander A. Khalessi, MD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in cranial and endovascular surgery. Dr. Khalessi is the vice chairman of clinical affairs in the Department of Neurosurgery, the director of endovascular neurosurgery and surgical director of neurocritical care. He provides both open surgical and catheter-based approaches to complex neurosurgical problems and offers alternative forms of treatment for cerebrovascular and cranial diseases.

Dr. Khalessi is an active clinical leader in the field of neurosurgery and the treatment of cerebrovascular disease. He is the only neurosurgeon to serve on the Interventional Advisory Panel for the StrokeNet Steering Committee. Developed by National Institutes of Health (NIH), StrokeNet is a stroke trials network that conducts clinical trials and research studies to advance acute stroke treatment and prevention, and recovery and rehabilitation following a stroke. As an open cranial surgery expert, Dr. Khalessi also leads the National Football League’s (NFL) Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant (UNC) Program in the Southern California region.

His research interests include open surgical and endovascular therapies for intracranial aneurysms, extracranial carotid disease, large-vessel ischemic stroke, and intensive care management and prognosis in head injury. Dr. Khalessi has been a contributing author to the national guidelines efforts that define clinical practice standards, and was a writing group member the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA)’s guidelines regarding the extended use of IV-tPA in ischemic stroke and mechanical thrombectomy for ischemic stroke.

Dr. Khalessi is a section editor for Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery for World Neurosurgery, the official journal of the World Federation of Neurological Societies (WFNS), and therefore provides thought leadership on neurovascular research to WFNS.

An associate professor in the Department of Surgery, he directs numerous national and international courses, including the intermediate resident course for the Society of Neurological Surgeons. Dr. Khalessi served on the Residency Review Committee for the neurosurgery residency program at UC San Diego School of Medicine and the editorial board for the Journal of Graduate Medical Education. He was also named as a working group member for Accreditation Council for Graduate Medication (ACGME)’s Neurosurgery and Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology Milestone Projects.

Prior to joining UC San Diego Health, Dr. Khalessi was a clinical instructor at the LAC + USC Medical Center. While there, he helped expand the hospital’s endovascular neurosurgery services.

He completed his neurosurgical residency at the University of Southern California and endovascular neurosurgery fellowship at SUNY Buffalo. Dr. Khalessi earned his medical degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is board-certified in neurological surgery.

Dr. Khalessi serves on the Executive Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) and represents the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and CNS to the American College of Radiology (ACR). Regionally, Dr. Khalessi served two terms as president of the San Diego Academy of Neurological Surgery.




Direct Office Phone:  619-543-5540, email:

Administrative Assistant and Research Coordinator: Amy K. Franklin, Direct Line 619-543-5078, email:

Clinical Coordinator: Ariana Munoz, Direct Line-619-543-5529, email: