US News and World Report has recently ranked Hackensack UMC neurosurgery as one of the top 40 neurosurgical programs in the country. The service offered by the division of neuro-oncology and skull-base surgery has contributed to this recognition by offering superior care for the treatment of patients with brain and spinal tumors.
Embracing New Technology:
These services involve utilization and development of state-of-the-art diagnostic tools including functional MR, tractography, spectroscopy and perfusion imaging. The neurosurgical operating suite at Hackensack UMC is equipped with intra-operative navigation and ultrasonography which augment the surgeon’s capability to operate safely and effectively. Intra-operative neurophysiological monitoring includes continuous motor evoked potential stimulation and subcortical monopolar stimulation for preservation and localization of motor fiber tracts. Under development to be soon operational is an MR suite allowing for real time stereotactic biopsy.
The surgical team, led by George J. Kaptain, MD, performs over 100 brain and spinal tumor operations annually and functions as a referral center for surrounding area hospitals and oncologists. The operating room is staffed by a dedicated team of anesthesiologists, operating nurses and OR technologists who are present on a day to day basis to ensure for a seamless surgical experience. Operative or non-operative treatment is determined by the anatomy and nature of the tumor. Both intra- and extra-operative brain mapping as well as ‘awake’ craniotomy allow for safe resection of tumors in manifestly functional areas of the brain. A variety of other surgical techniques are also performed routinely including endoscopic endonasal skull-base and pituitary surgery, stereotactic biopsy, ‘mini’ craniotomy, as well as MR guided laser interstitial therapy (LITT).
Surgeons in the division of neuro-oncology are supported by a variety of other sub-specialists within the department of neurosurgery to assist in foreseen or unforeseen circumstances. The neurovascular division is able to perform preoperative embolization of vascular tumors or WADA testing to assess for lateralization of language and memory function. Revascularization and bypass surgery is also offered in more complex circumstances where the tumor compromises the critical vascular structures.
More than surgery:
The management and control of brain tumors often requires treatments instead of or in conjunction with surgery. Patients are evaluated in the Neurological Oncology Division at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack UMC together with a team of medical neuro-oncologists and radiation oncologists. Standard treatment protocols involving chemotherapy and radiation therapy are carefully considered and reviewed with patients in this setting. Additionally, patients may decide to participate in a variety of promising clinical trials to improve outcomes.
Hackensack UMC has been offering radiosurgical treatment of brain tumors for over 20 years making it the longest running program in New Jersey. The newest and most advanced radiosurgical device--The Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion ® system--has recently been installed and forms the centerpiece of the newly endowed Viswanathan Rajaraman and Mary Sundaram Radiosurgery Center.
The team approach:
Patients with brain, skull-base or spinal tumors offer challenging clinical problems that often require the care and knowledge of a variety of specialists. Surgeons work closely with medical neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, epileptologists, intensivists, neuro-radiologists, otolaryngologists, neuro-pathologists, and palliative care providers to manage any problem that may arise. Hackensack UMC is well represented in all of these specialties and physicians interact directly and regularly to ensure that communication is consistent, clear and uninterrupted. This group of doctors attends a bi-monthly multi-disciplinary neuro-oncology conference to design well-considered treatment plans for established and newly diagnosed patients.
Research and education:
An annual Neuro-Oncology Symposium has been sponsored by the Department of Neurosurgery together with the John Theurer Cancer center for the past eight years. Lecturers and researchers from across the country have been invited to share their research and experience to allow for improvement of neuro-oncology care offered at Hackensack UMC.
For more information, please call the Neurological Oncology Division-The Brain & Spine Institute- John Theurer Cancer Center at 551-996-5266 or The Department of Neurosurgery at 551-996-3221.