Brain Tumor Starts the Year. Next on the Calendar? Full Recovery

Barry Strumph, pictured with his wife, Joyce, trusted the team of experts at North Shore-LIJ’s Brain Tumor Center.

After going to bed around midnight on January 1, Barry Strumph was startled awake at 1:45 a.m. by a seizure — his first ever.

“I had three seizures and somehow broke my shoulder during one of them,” said the 62-year-old insurance adjuster from Bayside. His wife, Joyce, called 911, and Mr. Strumph was rushed to the hospital. The diagnosis was no way to ring in the New Year: a brain tumor in Mr. Strumph’s left frontal lobe. “But thankfully, I was in good hands,” Mr. Strumph said.

To remove the brain tumor, Michael Schulder, MD, vice chair of neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) and LIJ Medical Center, performed surgery at NSUH via real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with the PoleStar N30. The system gives neurosurgeons the fastest way to precisely target and remove brain tumors while sparing healthy tissue.

Mr. Strumph’s surgery required him to be semiconscious for two hours during the nine-hour operation. “I remember someone showing me an iPhone and asking me to identify images, such as a bed and a face,” Mr. Strumph said.

Surgical Expertise

The PoleStar N30 is the latest version of an innovative intraoperative MRI system for brain surgery. Intraoperative MRI is a minimally invasive technique that enables the neurosurgeon to image the patient via a scanner while the patient undergoes surgery. “The PoleStar N30 is much smaller and lighter than its predecessor, making it easier to maneuver in the operating room during brain surgery,” Dr. Schulder said. He added that hardware and software updates render details more clearly and quickly.       

Dr. Schulder pioneered the use of the first PoleStar system for neurosurgery in North America (and the second in the world). NSUH is one of only two medical centers in New York City and on Long Island to offer brain surgery with real-time MRI — and the first hospital there to offer the PoleStar N30.

A Healthy Future

For Mr. Strumph, who is among Dr. Schulder’s 600-plus patients to undergo brain tumor removal with PoleStar, 2015 promises to end on a much better note than it began.

“Dr. Schulder and his team provided me with impeccable care, going above and beyond,” said Mr. Strumph, who is working from home while undergoing chemotherapy. “I’m feeling good and expect to make a full recovery,” he said. “I’m looking forward to putting this behind me.”

Find advanced neurological care with one of our specialists. Call 516-562-3822 or visit


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