Kristen O. Riley, MD

Associate Professor

KOriley-105x150A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Kristen O. Riley completed her MD degree at the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1998, where she was inducted into the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. She completed a neurosurgery residency at UAB, under the training of Dr. Richard Morawetz. Dr. Riley also completed a 6-month fellowship in epilepsy surgery at The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, England. She joined the faculty at UAB in 2004, and was board certified by the ABNS in 2007.

Dr. Riley directs the neurosurgical Pituitary Disorders Clinic. This clinic was founded in 1988 to provide multidisciplinary treatment of pituitary tumors. Patients in this clinic are seen by a neurosurgeon, Dr. Riley, and an endocrinologist. Dr. Brooks Vaughan provides specialized endocrine management for patients with pituitary tumors. Patients are able to have their neurosurgical and endocrine issues related to their diagnosis addressed in a single clinic visit. For patients requiring surgery for pituitary tumors, Dr. Riley performs minimally invasive endoscopic resection of the tumor. The majority of patients are discharged after a single night in the hospital.

In addition to the pituitary tumor service, Dr. Riley serves as the Director of the Adult Epilepsy Surgery Program. A combined program with the UAB Epilepsy Center, patients are evaluated for potential surgical treatments of epilepsy. Surgical procedures for epilepsy include anterior temporal lobectomy, focused cortical resections, invasive monitoring procedures followed by cortical resections, corpus callosotomy and vagal nerve stimulators.

Dr. Riley also specializes in surgical treatment of primary brain tumors, metastatic tumors to the brain and skull base and other intracranial neoplasms. These diseases are addressed using the most advanced imaging and a comprehensive treatment plan is derived which may include stereotactic biopsy, surgical resection, with or without awake intraoperative mapping. Patients are evaluated for minimally invasive endoscopic approaches and for Gamma Knife radiosurgery when appropriate.

She is also active in the training and guidance of medical students interested in neurosurgery.


Dr. Riley sees patients at The Kirklin Clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Pituitary Disorders Clinic meets each Tuesday. Appointments can be made by calling (205) 934-7170. Referrals are accepted from physicians only. MRI imaging is typically required before an appointment.

Patients interested in epilepsy surgery are evaluated through the UAB Epilepsy Center. Contact Nancy Cohen at (205) 934-3867.


Selected Publications:

Riley K, Palmer CA, Oser AB, Paramore CG. Spinal Cord Hamartoma; case report. Neurosurgery 1999 May; 44(5) 1125-7. PMID 10232548.

Doughty K, Riley K, Mulligan L, Fisher W. Decision Making for Carotid Endarterectomy. Contemporary Neurosurgery 25(17): 2003

Knowlton R, Elgavish R, Howell J, Blount J, Burneo J, Faught E, Kankirawatana P, Riley K, Morawetz R, Worthington J, Kuzniecky R. Magnetic Source Imaging Versus Intracranial Electroencephalogram in Epilepsy Surgery: A Prospective Study. Ann Neurol 2006; 59:835-842. PMID: 16634031.

Markert, JM, Powell K, Tubbs RS, Riley KO, Hadley MN, Palmer CA. Necrotizing Neurosarcoid: Three Cases with Varying Presentations. Clin NeuroPath 2007 Mar-Apr; 26(2) 59-67. PMID 17416104.

Pearson BE, Markert JM, Fisher WS, Guthrie BL, Fiveash JB, Palmer CA, Riley K. Hitting a moving target: evolution of a treatment paradigm for atypical meningiomas amid changing diagnostic criteria. Neurosurg Focus. 2008; 24(5): E3. PMID 18447742.

Knowlton RC, Elgavish RA, Limdi N, Bartolucci A, Ojha B, Blount J, Burneo JG, Ver Hoef L, Paige L, Faught E, Kankirawatana P, Riley K, Kuzniecky R. Functional Imaging: I. Relative Predictive Value of Intracranial Electroencephalography. Ann Neurol 2008 Jul;64 (1): 25-34. PMID 18412264.

Knowlton RC, Elgavish RA, Bartolucci A, Ojha B, Limdi N, Blount J, Burneo JG, Ver Hoef L, Paige L, Faught E, Kankirawatana P, Riley K, Kuzniecky R. Functional Imaging: II. Prediction of epilepsy surgery outcome. Ann Neurol 2008 Jul; 64(1) 35-41. PMID: 18570291.

Blount JP, Cormier J, Kim H, Kankirawatana P, Riley KO, Knowlton RC. Advances in Intracranial monitoring. Neurosurg Focus 2008 Sep;25 (3):E18. PMID 18759619.

Knowlton RC, Razdan SN, Limdi N, Elgavish RA, Killen J, Blount J, Burneo JG, Ver Hoef L, Paige L, Faught E, Kankirawatana P, Bartolucci A, Riley K, Kuzniecky R. Effect of epilepsy magnetic source imaging on intracranial electrode placement. Ann Neurol. 2009 Jun; 65(6) 716-23. PMID: 19557860.

Kostrzewa JP, Sunde J, Riley KO, Woodworth BA. Radiofrequency coblation decreases blood loss during endoscopic sinonasal and skull base tumor removal. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2010; 72 (1): 38-43. Epub 2010 19. PMID: 20299815.

Smith N, Riley KO, Woodworth BA. EndoscopicTM Coblator-assisted Management of Encephaloceles. Laryngoscope 2010 Dec 120 (12): 2535-9. PMID: 21072754.

Riley K
, Fathallah-Shaykh HM. Apparent widening gap in access to Neuro-Oncologic care in the United States: need for action. Arch Neurol. 2010 Sep: 67(9) 1137-9. PMID: 20837860.

Scheuster D, Cure JK, Riley K, Woodworth BA. Endoscopic resection of intracranial dermoid cysts. J Laryngol Otol. 2011 Jan 27:1-5.

Knowlton RC, Kar J, Miller S, Limdi N, Elgavish R, Gilliam FG, Riley K, Howell J, Kilgore M. Preference based quality of life measures for neocortical epilepsy surgery. Epilepsia. 2011 May;52(5):1018-20 PMID: 21426329.

Virgin F, Baranano CF, Riley K, Woodworth BA. Frontal Sinus Skull Base Defect Repair Using the Pedicled Nasoseptal Flap.Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 August 145: 338-340 PMID:21515800..

Vaphiades MS, Spencer SA, Riley K, Flanagan C, Deitz L, Kline LB. Radiation-induced ocular motor cranial nerve palsies in patients with pituitary tumor. Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology. 2011 Sep;31(3):210-3 PMID: 21857187

Blount A, Riley KO, Woodworth BA. Juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2011 Aug; 44(4): 989-1004 21819885

Hackney JR, Riley KO, Vaphiades MS, Bag AK, Palmer CA. Pituitary Adenoma Complicated by Multifocal Fibrosclerosis Involving Sella and Retroperitoneum. Clinical Medicine and Diagnostics: 2011; 1(1): 1-4. DOI: 10.5923/j.cmd.20110101.01

Hatch N, Riley K, Woodworth BA. Endoscopic Removal of a Bullet Penetrating the Middle Cranial Fossa. Skull Base. Accepted for publication.

Jones V, Virgin F, Riley K, Woodworth B. Changing Paradigms in Frontal Sinus Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Repair. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology. 2011 Aug. Accepted for Publication