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Michael G Muhonen, MD

Dr. Muhonen has staff privileges at CHOC Orange & CHOC Mission

Orange, CA


Special Interests:
Hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, brain tumors, Moyamoya disease, and vascular malformations of the brain

Research Focus:
Cerebral palsy, complicated hydrocephalus and traumatic head injury

Published Works:

Office and Contact Information

CHOC Children's Specialists
1010 W La Veta Ave
Orange, CA 92868
phone: (714) 835-2724
fax: (714) 835-2752
arrow map & directions

Administrative Appointments

  • Medical Director, CHOC Neuroscience Institute, CHOC Children's

Physician / Researcher Bio

For more than 20 years, Dr. Muhonen’s research interests have included hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, traumatic head injuries, spina bifida, brain tumors, Moyamoya disease, and vascular malformations of the brain. Dr. Muhonen served as primary investigator for the clinical trials of Medtronic's Strata Valve, a medical device used to treat hydrocephalus. He led the CHOC research effort on the Intrathecal Baclofen pump for treatment of spasticity and dystonia of cerebral origin. Dr. Muhonen is also involved in clinical research projects studying the outcomes of hydrocephalus treated with different shunting devices and cerebral injury in children who are victims of child abuse.

An internationally-recognized expert in neurosurgery, Dr. Muhonen has published more than 20 original manuscripts and book chapters, and has made more than 100 national and international presentations on various pediatric neurosurgical topics. He has coauthored chapters in the texts “Neurosurgical Aspects of Pregnancy for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons,” “Principles of Surgery for Lippinott-Raven,” “Pediatric Neurosurgery,” and “Surgery of the Developing Nervous System” for W.B. Saunders Co.

Dedicated to clinical excellence, Dr. Muhonen is board certified in neurosurgery. He served as an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals. He completed his residency at the same institution after attending medical school at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


  • Medical School
    Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, OK
  • Neurosurgery Residency
    University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics

Board Certifications

  • Neurological Surgery
    American Board of Neurological Surgery

Honors and Awards

  • Dr. Muhonen has also been recognized as one of the “Best Doctors in Orange County, California, specialty of Neurological Surgery” as determined by Orange Coast Magazine


Why Come to CHOC Why Come to CHOC
CHOC physicians, patients and their families talk about how CHOC provides expert pediatric care. Includes stories from our Heart, Neuroscience, Cancer and Critical Care programs. ...
What's Exciting About The New Operating Rooms: Dr. Muhonen What's Exciting About The New Operating Rooms: Dr. Muhonen
Dr. Michael Muhonen tells us why he is excited about the new operating rooms at CHOC. ...
Dermoid Cysts: Dr. Muhonen, CHOC Children's, CHOC Children's Dermoid Cysts: Dr. Muhonen, CHOC Children's, CHOC Children's
In this segment of American Health Journal, Dr. Michael Muhonen, tells us exactly what a dermoid cyst is and how it can be treated. ...

CHOC Articles & Publications

People Make Greatness Happen
Change CHOC, Change the World Campaign Newsletter: Fall 2011
Dr. Mustafa Kabeer, a pediatric surgeon at CHOC Children’s, works eighty to eighty-five hours per week and performs nearly 600 operations a year. Dr. Michael Muhonen, CHOC’s director of Neurosurger...
Physicians Committed to “Change CHOC, Change the World”
Physician Connection: Summer 2010
How does a local pediatric facility become a sustainable, world-class children’s hospital? This process requires three key elements: a state-of-the-art facility, a significant endowment, and an affili...
Glass Slipper Guild Pledges $1 Million to Neuroscience Institute
Making a Mark: October 2007
In January, the CHOC Glass Slipper Guild pledged $1 million to create a research endowment for the CHOC Neuroscience Institute. So far, the guild has raised $260,000 toward their five-year goal....
CHOC, CHOC at Mission Install New Officers
Physician Connection: Spring 2007
Our success depends on the professional commitment and dedication of our medical staff. We truly appreciate the countless hours these individuals have given to ensure our hospitals provide the highe...


Brain Surgeon Unknowingly Plays Matchmaker
January 21, 2013
Two sophomores from Foothill High school, who both underwent brain surgery recently with the same doctor, went to the winter formal together....
Dr. Michael Muhonen to Appear on American Health Journal on Thursday, September 27th at 12:30 PM
September 10, 2012
CHOC Children's Gala, "Building Bigger Dreams," Lauds New Patient Care Tower
January 30, 2012
CHOC Children's held its fourth annual CHOC Cherishes Children gala on January 21st at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach....
More than 80 CHOC Children's Doctors Named "Physicians of Excellence"
January 03, 2012
More than 80 CHOC Children's physicians, including specialists and pediatricians, are named "Physicians of Excellence" by the Orange County Medical Association....
More than 60 CHOC Children’s Doctors Named “Physicians of Excellence”
January 04, 2011
More than 60 CHOC Children’s physicians, including specialists and pediatricians, are featured as "Physicians of Excellence" in the January 2011 issue of Orange Coast magazine. The "Physicians of Exc...
More than 50 CHOC Children's Doctors Named "Physicians of Excellence"
January 04, 2010
The Orange County Medical Association names more than 50 CHOC doctors "Physicians of Excellence."...
More News...


Dr. Muhonen
World-class neurosurgeon, Michael Muhonen,M.D., treats his patients and their parents like family. ...
After some innovative surgical procedures, Juneau is now symptom-free and thriving, living life as a child should. ...

Published Works

Mathews MS, Loudon WG, Muhonen MG, Sundine MJ. Vault reduction cranioplasty for extreme hydrocephalic macrocephaly. J Neurosurg. 2007 Oct;107(4 Suppl):332-7; discussion 330-1.

Westhout FD, Muhonen MG, Nwagwu CI. Early propofol infusion syndrome following cerebral angiographic embolization for giant aneurysm repair. Case report. J Neurosurg. 2007 Feb;106(2 Suppl):139-42.

Sundine MJ, Wirth GA, Brenner KA, Loudon WG, Muhonen MG, Greene CS, Rowen S, Sabzghagaei N. Cranial vault reduction cranioplasty in children with hydrocephalic macrocephaly. J Craniofac Surg. 2006 Jul;17(4):645-55.

Kestle, JRW, Walker ML, for the Strata investigators. A multicenter prospective cohort study of the Strata valve for the management of hydrocephalus in pediatric patients. J Neurosurg (Pediatrics 2) 102:141-145, 2005.

Muhonen, MG, et al. Giant Intracranial Teratoma and Lack of Cortical Development in a Fetus. J Neurosurg, 103(2):180-183, 2005.

Albright, AL, Awaad, Y, Muhonen, MG, et al. Performance and complications associated with the Synchromed 10-ml infusion pump for intrathecal baclofen administration in children. J Neurosurg (Pediatrics 1) 101:64-68, 2004.


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Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

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