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Yamagata University Hospital

Conditions Treated
Brain tumors, cerebral strokes, epilepsy, etc.
Pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, etc.

Treatment Methods (Brain Tumors, etc.)

Our hospital provides patients with safe and secure surgery and treatment. We prepare detailed preoperative plans before surgery, using the latest devices such as 3T-MRI, MEG, and PET scanners, and the results are integrated into the navigation system to be utilized.

Especially in the case of the treatment of brain tumors, sophisticated surgery that does not cause postoperative aftereffects such as paralysis and language disorders is required when removing the tumor. A group led by Professor Takamasa Kayama of the Division of Neurosurgery has been performing “awake craniotomies” since approximately 20 years ago. With this surgical method, we can protect higher brain functions by temporarily awakening the patient from the anesthesia and observing the tumor that will be resected as well as the positions of brain functions to improve the quality of the patient’s condition after hospital discharge. Dr. Kayama’s group has developed treatments for brain tumors that were previously considered difficult to remove.

In 2008, we started operation of Japan’s third 1.5T ultra-high-field intraoperative MRI, and it became possible to update brain function information such as tractography as well as high-precision anatomical information in a short period of time. With this new system, we can perform surgery while checking the lesion to see if any part of the tumor has been left behind and if any bleeding is occurring, leading to safe and secure removal of brain tumors. We have already performed over 250 surgeries and received favorable therapeutic results since we started to operate this new system and new operating room.

Features of Our Hospital

One of the features of our hospital is that we have a medical care system that goes beyond the clinical department framework. Our hospital does not separate clinical departments such as internal medicine and surgery, and has instead reorganized clinical departments according to the areas of the organs they specialize in. For instance, we have established centers for cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cerebral strokes, and gastrointestinal disease, and doctors in each department cooperate to provide the best treatment that can be smoothly provided by the hospital.

Furthermore, each department works hard to develop next-generation practices and treatments. In particular, the group led by neurosurgery director and professor Takamasa Kayama has been performing world-leading clinical studies. These include “awake craniotomies,” in which the patient is temporarily awakened during surgery. With activities such as an awake craniotomy performed by Professor Kayama being broadcast live to the venue of an international academic conference, it has been introduced to the world as a leading surgical method. In addition, we are also carrying out activities to disseminate this surgical method. In 2012, we were the first in the world to prepare and publish English-language guidelines on this surgery, and with such initiatives our hospital is serving as a base for medical treatments at the forefront of neurosurgery.

Features of Cancer Therapy at Our Hospital

To improve the quality of cancer therapy at our hospital, in 2005, we were the first in Japan to establish a cancer center at the university as a crosscutting organization of clinical departments. In 2007, we established a clinical center for cancer at the hospital and we have been engaging in treatments that go beyond the clinical department framework using equipment such as the latest linac that can be used to perform image-guided IMRT.

Most of all, our Cancer Treatment Board is a world-first, epoch-making approach that greatly improves the quality of cancer practice. In this system, radiology specialists, drug therapy for cancer specialists, internal medicine specialists, surgeons, pharmacists, and so on gather to comprehensively evaluate and discuss the therapeutic approaches for all cancer patients. The Board is divided into 13 sections, such as sections for the respiratory organs, gastrointestinal organs, and cranial nerves. Discussions are regularly held once a week, and as the need arises. With the implementation of the Cancer Treatment Board, we have been able to overcome the characteristically closed approach in which the cancer treatment strategy is determined by the department the patient visits first. This structure in which medical staff with various approaches and standards get together and engage in spirited discussions has made it possible for us to explore and provide the best and most appropriate treatments with the full resources of the hospital. The number of cases we considered in the discussions reached approximately 2,285 by the end of December 2012, 5 years after the start of the Cancer Treatment Board, and the number of participants in discussions reached approximately 26,235. At first, discussions mainly centered on cases that could be treated by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but in recent years discussions have included surgeries co-performed by multiple clinical departments, and so it has become well-established as a system for comprehensive treatment in the hospital.

A Message to International Patients from Our Hospital

Our hospital has been able to transform itself into a facility with very high comprehensive abilities in cancer diagnosis, by having hospital wards separated according to the organs treated and close cooperation between internal medicine and surgery; operating rooms with the newest and best facilities; a Cancer Treatment Board which determines the best and most appropriate therapeutic approach; a linac which can be used to perform pinpoint irradiation; the best devices such as PET and CT scanners that demonstrate powerful abilities in the quantitative diagnosis of cancer; and excellent systems. We provide the world’s best medical practices for each international patient by having all the clinical departments cooperate with each other instead of solely relying on individual techniques or systems. Moreover, all the concierges in our outpatient department can speak English. In addition, all the nurses in our hospital carry terminals containing as many as 300 content items in order to communicate with international patients in languages such as English, Spanish, and Chinese about issues such as food allergies or foods that are prohibited for religious reasons.

Our hospital is located in Yamagata prefecture, which is located on the Sea of Japan coast in the Tohoku region. This is a beautiful prefecture with abundant nature surrounded by mountains such as Mt. Zao, Mt. Gassan, and Mt. Chokai, all of which are included among Japan’s “100 Famous Mountains.” The prefecture has a full four seasons. It is famous for its forest and fishery products including cherries, and the Zao Onsen hot spring resort town with its volcanic craters and trees covered with hoar frost. Many tourists visit the prefecture from countries like Taiwan, Korea, and Hong Kong.

Dr. Takamasa Kayama
Dr. Takamasa Kayama
Special Advisor to the President, Yamagata University
Professor in the Neurosurgery Division

Dr. Hidetoshi Yamashita
Dr. Hidetoshi Yamashita
Dean of the Medical Department, Yamagata University
Professor in the Ophthalmology Division

Dr. Isao Kubota
Dr. Isao Kubota
Director of Yamagata University Hospital
Professor in the First Internal Medicine Division (Cardiology, Pulmonology, and Nephrology)


External View of Our Hospital Ultra-High-Field Intraoperative MRI System Awake Craniotomy
External View of Our Hospital Ultra-High-Field Intraoperative MRI System Awake Craniotomy
Established 1976
Clinical Departments
Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Dermatology, Diagnostic Radiology, Therapeutic Radiology, Surgery, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology, Urology, Anesthesiology, Dental/Plastic Surgery, Emergency Care, Higher Brain Functions, Oncology, Diagnostic Pathology, Pain Relief
Payment Methods
Cash, Debit Card, Credit Card (JCB, VISA, etc.)


2-2-2 Iida-nishi, Yamagata 990-9585
11 minutes by bus or 7 minutes
by taxi from JR Yamagata Station
Approximately 40 minutes
by car from Yamagata Airport