Minimally Invasive/Endoscopic Neurosurgery

Minimally invasive neurosurgery utilizes small, flexible, lighted tubes called endoscopes to visualize various parts of the brain, skull base, or spinal cord through small openings. Endoscopes serve as small microscopes, magnifying critical anatomical structures so the surgeon can easily see the various diseased areas requiring repair, removal, or replacement. Because the use of endoscopes is much less intrusive into these anatomical structures than is conventional surgery, endoscopic neurosurgery is referred to as minimally invasive neurosurgery. For example, endoscopic neurosurgery in general does not require large incisions on the scalp or skull, or extensive dissection through brain tissue. The result is a faster and simpler procedure with greatly reduced post-operative complications, faster recovery, and less pain and scarring. The actual removal or repair of the problem is done as effectively, safely, and completely as with conventional "open" surgery.

Recent technical advancements in endoscope design have produced equipment that is smaller and more efficient, with improved resolution and brighter illumination, than earlier models. Endoscopic neurosurgery has greatly simplified the management of many intracranial (within the brain) ailments in both adults and children, and has reduced surgical complications, shortened hospital stay, and minimized cosmetic concerns associated with many major neurosurgical conditions.

Dr. Theodore H. Schwartz minimally invasive surgeryOur entire faculty has advanced training in minimally invasive surgical techniques, and we use them throughout the practice, including:

Intracranial Surgery: In intracranial surgery, endoscopes are introduced into the brain through very small skull openings, following which tiny instruments may be placed through the same opening for the purpose of performing endoscopic tumor biopsy, colloid cyst resection, and endoscopic cyst fenestration, as well as to treat hydrocephalus. Operations can last from about 15 minutes to an hour, and patients are typically discharged the next day from the hospital.

Endonasal Neurosurgery: Endonasal (through the nose) neurosurgery is frequently performed to treat a range of conditions, included among which are pituitary tumors, meningiomas and chordomas. The surgeon is able to maneuver the endoscope to different areas, which allows treatment of brain tumors in different locations. The surgeon can also direct the endoscope downward and clearly see the palate and the back of the throat to operate on the top of the spine and base of the skull. Patients are typically discharged between two and four days after surgery, depending on size of the tumor and overall functioning. Find out more about minimally invasive endonasal pituitary surgery.

Endonasal Approach to Tumor Resection

Watch animation of endonasal approach

Spinal Surgery: Spinal surgery may also be performed endoscopically for a range of conditions affecting the spinal column, including lumbar and thoracic hernias, chronic back pain, and compression fractures, among others. Procedures for correction of these conditions include video-assisted transthoracic surgery, computer-assisted lumbar fusion, and lumbar discectomy. These may be performed under local or general anesthesia and patients often go home in as little as one day after the procedure. Find out more about our Spine Center.

 

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What our Patients Say

Jarrod San Angel, 45, of Long Island City, Queens, is a senior academic advisor in student advising services at LaGuardia Community College and has a rich, full life: he loves to travel and sample new cuisines, write music, and attend concerts. Yet...

Our Care Team

  • Chairman and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief
  • Margaret and Robert J. Hariri, MD ’87, PhD ’87 Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Vice Provost of Business Affairs and Integration
Phone: 212-746-4684
  • Assistant Professor of Radiology in Neurological Surgery (Manhattan and Queens)
Phone: 212-746-2821 (Manhattan) or 718-303-3739 (Queens)
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Leon Levy Research Fellow
  • Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute
Phone: 646-962-3389
  • Professor of Radiology in Neurological Surgery
Phone: 212-746-4998
  • Hansen-MacDonald Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Director of Spinal Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2152
  • Victor and Tara Menezes Clinical Scholar in Neuroscience
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery in Pediatrics
Phone: 212-746-2363
  • Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery 
Phone: (888) 922-2257
  • Vice Chair, Research, Neurological Surgery
  • Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Director, Movement Disorders and Pain
  • Director, Residency Program
Phone: 212-746-4966
  • Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventional Neuroradiology
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Fellowship Director, Endovascular Neurosurgery
Phone: 212-746-5149
  • Assistant Professor, Neurological Surgery
Phone: 718-670-1837
  • Director, Neurosurgical Radiosurgery
  • Associate Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
  • Robert G. Schwager, MD ’67 Education Scholar, Cornell University
Phone: 212-746-2438
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist
  • Alvina and Willis Murphy Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery
  • Director, Brain Metastases Program
  • Co-director, William Rhodes and Louise Tilzer-Rhodes Center for Glioblastoma
Phone: 212-746-1996
  • 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 (Brooklyn and Manhattan)
Phone: 212-746-2821 (Manhattan); 718-780-3070 (Brooklyn)
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Attending Neurosurgeon
Phone: 888-922-2257
  • Vice Chairman, Neurological Surgery
  • Director, Pediatric Neurological Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2363
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 646-962-3388
  • Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology
Phone: 212-746-3600
  • Nurse Practitioner
Phone: 212-746-2870
  • Nurse Practitioner
Phone: 212-746-2152
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Phone: 212-746-2438
  • Nurse Practitioner
Phone: 646-962-5115
  • Nurse Practitioner
Phone: 212-746-5149
  • Nurse Practitioner
Phone: 212-746-4998
  • Physician Assistant
Phone: 212-746-2363
  • Chief Nurse Practitioner
Phone: 212-746-4966
It was 22 years ago today – November 1, 2000 – that I became the first chair of the newly formed department of neurosurgery and neurosurgeon-in-chief of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. I suppose I might have been more reflective...

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