Skull Based Surgery at NYM: A Team Approach

Feb 25, 2009

a doctor pointing at screen with x-rays

Allen Kantrowtiz, M.D., associate chief of neurosurgery, with a patient.

At New York Methodist Hospital, board certified neurosurgeons treat a wide range of neurological conditions. Among these are skull base tumors. Skull base refers to the region of the head at the base of the skull beneath the brain. Although diseases of the skull base are rare, they are potentially life threatening. However, the most frequently seen abnormalities at the base of the skull are benign tumors.

Because of the complex nature of the disease, patients with skull base tumors are best managed by an experienced multidisciplinary team. "At New York Methodist, we create an individualized treatment plan for each patient, said Martin Zonenshayn, M.D., chief of neurosurgery at New York Methodist. "We bring together a unique team of specialists that can include neurologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and otolaryngologists, who work together to develop the most comprehensive treatment plan for each patient."

When a skull base tumor is suspected, a patient's first step is to consult with one of the Hospital's expertly trained neurologists. If surgery is recommended, either to remove all or part of the abnormality or to obtain tissue needed to guide further therapies, members of NYM's neurosurgery team will work closely with the neurologist to ensure the optimal treatment plan.

NYM has state-of-the-art equipment for this purpose, including a computerized navigation system that's like a GPS for the brain, which allows surgeons to precisely map out the location of a tumor.

"There are many different types of tumors and each one affects patients differently, depending on the specific tumor and its location", said Allen Kantrowitz, M.D., who recently joined New York Methodist as associate chief of neurosurgery.

Dr. Kantrowitz, who most recently practiced at Berkshire Medical Center--a regional trauma center in Massachusetts--has highly specialized training and extensive experience treating brain and spine tumors.

In addition to skull base disease, neurosurgeons at New York Methodist Hospital treat pituitary and spinal tumors, head, neck trauma and spinal stenosis. The Hospital also provides a variety of surgical options to reduce back and neck pain. New York Methodist's neurosurgeons also perform deep brain stimulation therapy for Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders.

For more information on the Division of Neurosurgery at New York Methodist Hospital, please call 718 246-8610/8660, or visit