Innovating Minimally Invasive Access to the Brain and Spine
Open surgery is no longer the only way–or even the primary way–of treating pathologies of the brain and spine. At NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, our neurosurgeons are using a wide range of advanced minimal access approaches, which are associated with shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery for patients. While great progress has been made in treating central nervous system disorders, much remains to be discovered—which is why our researchers are hard at work developing groundbreaking therapies with the goal of improving patient outcomes.
Operating Through the Nose?
Endonasal endoscopy has transformed the treatment of anterior skull base tumors such as pituitary tumors and craniopharyngiomas, leaving patients with no external incisions. Our surgeons are not only experienced in this approach; they teach other surgeons from around the world how to perform these advanced skull base surgery techniques.
High Tech, Low Pain
Neurosurgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell also use endoscopy, endovascular approaches, robotic and laser surgery, and other minimal access techniques to treat spine disorders, aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, pulsatile tinnitus, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, chronic subdural hematoma, and epilepsy—among other neurological disorders—in adults and children. These high-tech procedures require only tiny incisions, and sometimes no incisions at all, and get patients back to their daily routines faster and with less pain than older methods.
Zeroing In on Essential Tremor
Our neurosurgeons were among the first to use high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to treat essential tremor. Performed while the patient is awake, the treatment takes precise aim at an area of the thalamus not much larger than a pencil point, eliminating the cause of the tremor. HIFU has enabled many patients to handle everyday tasks without shaking for the first time in their lives—without invasive procedures, permanent implants, or even an incision.
Making Headway through Research
At NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, patients with neurologic diseases and disorders have access to a robust portfolio of clinical trials, including those under way to assess:
- Convection-enhanced chemotherapy delivery for pediatric patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an aggressive and challenging brainstem cancer.
- Biologic spinal disk replacements for patients with degenerative disk disease.
- Placental stem cell therapy as a regenerative treatment for patients with degenerative joint disease, with another clinical trial scheduled to open for patients with glioblastoma multiforme.
Great things are happening in our labs, too. Our scientists are evaluating gene therapy with viral vectors for Parkinson's disease and cancer, combined with focused ultrasound to break down the blood-brain barrier and facilitate the treatment's delivery to the brain.
Innovation. Access. Better outcomes.
It's all happening at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.