At the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center, top neurosurgeons treat the full spectrum of neurological disease, including brain and spine tumors, stroke, herniated disc and other spine disorders, aneurysms, epilepsy, and Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders.
Consistently named to lists of Top Doctors, Best Doctors, and Super Doctors, our neurosurgeons offer the latest in minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery for a wide range of brain and spine conditions in adults and children.
Our comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to patient care means we always offer the least invasive options first and recommend surgery only when necessary. Advanced programs include stereotactic radiosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, endoscopic surgery, image-guided surgical navigation, laser surgery, and microneurosurgery.
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Traumatic brain and spine injuries can be the result of car accidents, falls, sports, or violence. The Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center provides a neuroscience approach to brain and spine injuries, from mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI, or concussion) to severe trauma.
The neurosurgeons of the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center treat patients who arrive in the emergency room of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, which is a Level 1 trauma center capable of providing expert medical treatment in emergencies. Our neurosurgeons are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to participate in the emergency care of injuries to the brain and spine.
Our neurosurgeons also treat non-emergency cases, including those less severe injuries that nevertheless cause pain and affect quality of life – and some of New York’s top athletic teams, including the New York Giants, New York Jets, and New York Islanders, put their trust in the experts of the Brain and Spine Center to ensure their players are in top condition.
The top brain tumor surgeons at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center are experts in advanced surgical and non-surgical treatments for both primary and metastatic brain tumors. Our multidisciplinary approach ensures that each patient receives the best care from neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuro-oncologists, neuropsychologists, and other experts required to provide brain tumor treatment.
In addition to our pursuit of an aggressive science–based approach, our Brain Tumor service emphasizes treatment of the whole person and respect for the roles of family members and other care coordinators.
We offer the best in clinical care for patients with brain tumors, from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up care, including a wide range of clinical trials. Our patients come from the New York metropolitan area and from around the world — we are nationally and internationally known experts in brain tumors, so doctors everywhere send their patients to us for the best care.
The top neurosurgeons at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center offer world-class treatment for aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, carotid occlusions, trigeminal neuralgia, and other vascular conditions of the brain and spine.
Our service combines expertise in minimally invasive surgical techniques with the advanced specialties of interventional neuroradiology and stereotactic radiosurgery, making us the go-to center for cerebrovascular disorders.
At Weill Cornell, world-renowned surgeons under the leadership of neurosurgeon-in-chief Philip Stieg, Ph.D., M.D., use state-of-the-art diagnostic tests to provide a detailed treatment plan for each patient. Microsurgery, embolization, and other leading-edge treatments have a proven track record of providing successful results.
Our unique Interventional Neuroradiology Program, directed by Dr. Y. Pierre Gobin, performs many advanced procedures, including pre-operative embolization, to improve outcomes in cerebrovascular cases. We also offer non-invasive Stereotactic Radiosurgery as an option for some cerebrovascular disorders. Under the direction of Dr. Susan Pannullo, the Stereotactic Radiosurgery Program offers highly focused radiation treatments using advanced linear accelerator (LINAC), CyberKnife, or Gamma Knife equipment.
Epilepsy surgery is a complex procedure requiring a highly skilled surgeon experienced in the field. Our Epilepsy Surgery Service treats both adults and children, and in carefully selected patients can provide a permanent cure for seizures. In other cases surgery may reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.
Epilepsy surgery starts with localizing the seizures to determine the precise spot in the brain where they originate. Localizing is followed by brain mapping to determine what functional areas of the brain may be affected by surgery. Some patients may be good candidates for our new minimally invasive Laser Surgery Program for Epilepsy.
The Epilepsy Surgery Service is led by internationally recognized epilepsy surgery expert Theodore Schwartz, M.D., who is one of the pioneers in the field of epilepsy surgery. Dr. Schwartz is joined by pediatric neurosurgeons Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield and Dr. Caitlin Hoffman, both of whom have advanced training and expertise in epilepsy surgery in children.
Our clinical and surgical neuro-oncology programs treat malignant brain and spine tumors, including primary and metastatic tumors, in adults and children. The neuro-oncologists and neurosurgeons of the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center offer a comprehensive approach to brain and spine tumors and see hundreds of patients each year with newly diagnosed and recurrent tumors.
The Clinical Neuro-oncology Program specializes in strategies for maintaining control of tumors after surgery, including radiation therapies (including stereotactic radiosurgery and brachytherapy), and delivery of drugs and other anti-tumor agents. The program also works closely with the experts in the Surgical Neuro-oncology Program, which manages the surgical treatment of patients with brain and spine tumors, and with the Cognitive Remediation Program, which can provide cognitive rehabilitation and support during and after treatment.
The experts of the Surgical Neuro-oncology Program work closely with members of the Clinical Neuro-oncology Program to create a comprehensive strategy that includes surgical resection (removal) of tumors followed by medical control of tumors, including radiation and drug therapies.
The Department of Neurological Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, also known as the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, provides specialized neurosurgical care to patients with injury to or diseases of the brain, spine, and peripheral nerves, including head and spinal trauma, cerebrovascular disorders, brain and spinal tumors, pediatric diseases, movement disorders, and epilepsy. We provide a complete continuum of care, from pre-treatment evaluation through a wide range of treatment options (many of them nonsurgical or requiring only minimally invasive procedures) to post-treatment care.
Before and after treatment for brain and spine conditions, we offer neuropsychological services including brain mapping prior to surgery and pre- and post-operative testing and cognitive remediation. Our neuropsychologists also offer evaluation and care for those who have suffered a traumatic injury.
Neuropsychologists perform face-to-face, pencil-and-paper testing of attention, memory, visuo-motor speed, and other mental abilities, and may also administer a screening with a computerized test battery of cognitive abilities. The battery (ANAM) includes quantitative assessment of reaction time, choice reaction time, sustained concentration, and working memory. ANAM was developed by the government and has far more independent research on its reliability and sensitivity to concussion than proprietary batteries like IMPACT, which, despite its popularity, is backed by research performed mostly by its developers.
Neuropsychologists provide cognitive remediation therapy, which is a goal-oriented treatment geared at optimizing functioning and reintegration into daily activities. Cognitive remediation incorporates psychotherapy in order to support the individual as he or she experiences emotions related to a brain injury or condition.
The Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center offers advanced treatment options for individuals affected by movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, essential tremor, ataxia, Tourette’s syndrome, and related conditions. We specialize in deep brain stimulation (DBS), spinal stimulation, and other state-of-the-art treatments for movement disorders and pain.
The Movement Disorders service makes use of advanced imaging and guidance technologies for minimally invasive, computer-assisted procedures to precisely target key brain structures. This allows the surgeon to plan and perform the operation as accurately as possible, reducing likelihood of complications.
Dr. Michael Kaplitt, who directs the service, is also the leader of a comprehensive Pain Program within the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center. In this role he oversees advanced pain management for those suffering debilitating chronic pain from conditions such as nerve injury or scarring, reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), amputated limbs, herpes, or spinal cord injury. In addition to deep brain stimulation, the Pain Program offers spinal stimulation using implantable, programmable spinal cord stimulators as well as intraspinal pumps that deliver drugs directly to the spinal cord to treat a variety of painful conditions.
The Weill Cornell Medicine Pediatric Brain and Spine Center takes a multidisciplinary approach that focuses on the whole child and offers them the best opportunity to enjoy a normal transition from child to adult. The program is nationally recognized for its leadership in the treatment of pediatric brain tumors, congenital malformations, craniofacial disorders, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, vascular abnormalities, and traumatic injuries.
Our faculty members have advanced skills and expertise in:
Removal of intraventricular brain tumors
Endoscopic intracranial surgery
Tumors (colloid cyst, benign astrocytoma)
Hydrocephalus (endoscopic third ventriculostomy)
Congenital cysts (endoscopic fenestration)
Treatment for Chiari malformations and syringomyelia
Skull base surgery — procedures performed not within in the brain but at the skull base behind the nose – has been transformed over the last decade, with minimally invasive techniques replacing open surgery in many cases. Top surgeons can now remove unimaginably large tumors through the nostrils instead of through incisions, using the natural openings of the face and manipulating tiny endoscopes to navigate to the lesions.
Minimally invasive endoscopic skull base surgery is often an option for pituitary tumors, meningiomas, craniopharyngiomas, and other tumors. Although many of these tumors are benign, they may destroy hormone-producing cells or secrete hormones themselves, or they may cause problems with vision, growth, fertility, or balance. Many are inaccessible through open surgery, and for those patients the endonasal route, through the nostrils, represents the only hope for a cure.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is not surgery in the conventional sense. Its combination of advanced radiation tools and complex three-dimensional surgical planning techniques is used for precise delivery of highly focused radiation that can pinpoint a tumor or other target with little or no effect on normal surrounding tissue. It does not involve scalpels or other invasive tools, and does not require any openings in the skull or spine. Stereotactic radiosurgery has been used with great success in the treatment of brain tumors and other conditions as an alternative to “open” surgery.
Stereotactic radiosurgery may be used either alone or in combination with other treatments, including traditional surgery, chemotherapy and other medications, “conventional” radiation, and embolization. Procedures done on the brain and spine are performed by a multidisciplinary team that includes a neurosurgeon, a radiation oncologist, and a medical physicist, all of whom have undergone special training and certification in stereotactic radiosurgery. The procedures are done on an outpatient basis, usually done under local or no anesthesia. The patient is awake for this painless treatment, and in most cases may return to their usual activities that same day or on the day after treatment.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is not surgery in the conventional sense. Its combination of advanced radiation tools and complex three-dimensional surgical planning techniques is used for precise delivery of highly focused radiation that can pinpoint a tumor or other target with little or no effect on normal surrounding tissue. It has been used with great success in the treatment of brain tumors and other conditions as an alternative to “open” surgery.
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An early champion of minimally invasive/endoscopic surgery to remove colloid cysts, Dr. Mark Souweidane has now performed more than 100 of these surgeries and become an international leader in minimal-access colloid cyst resection.