Surgery for Basilar Invagination

Surgery for basilar invagination involves the removal of bone that is causing the compression, and stabilization of the skull and spine using spinal instrumentation. (See before and after scans of a patient with basilar invagination in Pictures of Basilar Invagination.)

At the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center, we always use the least invasive surgical techniques possible for our patients. For basilar invagination, we frequently use a minimally invasive endonasal approach that doesn’t require opening the skull. A neurosurgeon uses an endoscope to maneuver through the nose to reach the odontoid, which allows removal of the odontoid bone at the top of the spine. This minimally invasive approach reduces risk and allows for faster recovery times.

Prior to removing the odontoid bone, the neurosurgeon will need to stabilize the spine through a minimal posterior fusion technique. It is not always necessary to do both surgeries.


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What our Patients Say

Joe and Christine Pecoraro write about their son Caleb, who underwent surgery with Dr. Greenfield for basilar invagination and Chiari malformation.

Our Care Team

  • Vice Chairman for Academic Affairs
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Pediatric Neurosurgery
  • Associate Residency Director
Phone: 212-746-2363
  • Vice Chair for Clinical Research
  • David and Ursel Barnes Professor in Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Otolaryngology
  • Director, Center for Epilepsy and Pituitary Surgery
  • Co-Director, Surgical Neuro-oncology
Phone: 212-746-5620
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 646-962-3388

Reviewed by Jeffrey Greenfield, Ph.D., M.D. 
Last reviewed/last updated: April 2021

Weill Cornell Medicine Brain & Spine Center 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787