Spine Center Lenox Hill

(212) 434-3900

130 East 77th Street, 3 Black Hall
New York, New York 10075

Overview

The Division of Spine Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment for disorders of the spine and spinal cord. Our team of clinical professionals provides individualized care plans to help patients regain mobility and return to active and independent lives. This multidisciplinary division offers surgical and non-surgical treatment options, including innovative clinical trials conducted at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research arm of Northwell Health.

Spine Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital

Lenox Hill Neurosurgery offers a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for spinal disorders including spinal stenosis, sciatica and other forms of back pain. Find out how the neurosurgery experts at Lenox Hill can help relieve your back pain.

Clinical expertise

The Division of Spine Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital offers patients an individualized comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan, prepared by our expertly trained clinicians.

Our team prepares a treatment plan based on:

  • Your age, overall health and medical history
  • Extent of the condition
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures and therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

The skilled neurosurgeons at the Division of Spine Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital provide state-of-the-art spinal care for patients with a wide spectrum of spinal conditions to help patients regain mobility and return to their normal lives. The spine surgery division treats the following back and neck pain disorders:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Cervical radiculoathy
  • Chordomas
  • Disco bulging/herniation/slipped disc
  • Diskitis
  • Kyphosis
  • Myletitis
  • Osteoarthritis of the spine
  • Osteoporosis of the spine
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal compression fractures
  • Spinal cord tumors
  • Spinal deformities
  • Spinal malignancies
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylosis
  • Trauma of the spine
  • Vertebral artery disorders

Treatments include:

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion - Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion are spinal treatments that may be appropriate for patients who have a herniated disc in the cervical region of their spine that is causing their symptoms. The common approach is an anterior cervical discectomy. This is an operation under general anesthesia in which a small incision is made in the front of the neck to gain access to the front of the spine. The disc along with its herniated portion is then removed to relieve the pressure on the nerve and spinal cord.
 
Baclofen pumps - Baclofen pumps are used to relieve both severe pain and muscle spasms by implanting a small pump and medicine-filled reservoir in the body. A thin tube, or catheter, goes from the pain pump to the spine where the medication is released into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord.
 
Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) - IDET is a spinal treatment that is used on a select group of individuals with chronic back pain. The procedure involves the use of a sedative and local anesthetic and under X-ray imaging (fluoroscopy). The surgeon will then insert a needle containing a heating element into the spinal disc. The catheter is placed in the outer layer (the annulus) of the disc and is then slowly heated. The heat destroys the nerve fibers and causes the disc tissue to seal any small tears.
 
Kyphoplasty - Kyphoplasty provides pain relief related to vertebral compression fractures due to osteoporosis and metastatic disease. This procedure usually delivers pain relief within several days and the majority of people experience satisfactory results. Balloon kyphoplasty can significantly reduce back pain, often shortly after the procedure. In addition to pain reduction, patients often experience an increased ability to return to simple, everyday activities such as walking, reaching, bending and lifting. The procedure may also restore vertebral body height. Patients often report improved mental and emotional health, vitality and social function.
 
Laparoscopic spine surgery - Laparoscopic spine surgery is a minimally invasive surgery (also known as laparoscopy) that allows surgeons to perform spine operation without having to make a large incision. For the laparoscopic approach, small puncture holes are made in the skin instead of long incisions. A telescope is inserted through one of the puncture holes projecting a picture on a television screen which then allows the surgeon to see the spine. Additional puncture holes are created where specialize surgical instruments are placed allowing the work on the spine. The advantages of performing minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopic spine surgery are: small incisions, typically less blood loss than an open procedure, less pain, a shorter length of stay in the hospital and a quicker return to activities of daily living.
 
Lumbar/cervical discectomy - Open discectomy is a procedure that removes the disc that is located between the vertebrae in the spine. The herniated portion of the disc is removed, as well as any additional abnormal portion of the intervertebral disc. This allows the nerve root to return to its normal position and orientation.
 
Minimally invasive microdiscectomy - Patients whose pain is caused by a pinched nerve from a herniated lumbar disc are candidates for a microlumbar discectomy. This is an operation done under general anesthesia in which a small incision (typically less than one inch) is made in the lower part of the back or neck. A window is made in the bone (laminotomy) overlying the nerve root and herniated disc. The herniated portion of the disc is removed as well as any additional abnormal portion of the intervertebral disc. This allows the nerve root to return to its normal position and orientation.
 
Spinal cord stimulation - This technique is used to block the sensation of pain with an electrical device implanted in the body. It uses a mild current to replace the feeling of pain with a sensation similar to the feel of running water. Spinal cord stimulation is used when back surgery fails, for peripheral neuropathy (severe pain in the arms, legs, hands or feet), and when severe phantom limb pain follows amputations.
 
Spinal fusion - The stability of your spine is dependent upon the combined function of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones that make up the spinal column. Sometimes, either because of abnormalities involving one or several of these components, the spinal column becomes unstable. In these cases, stability can be provided through the use of bone grafts which fuse the spine into a stable position. This is known as a spinal fusion. Spinal instrumentation involves placing a set of rods, hooks or screws into the spine in order to provide immediate stability until the bone graft fuses. For people with instability, the surgeon fuses adjacent vertebrae. Matchstick-sized pieces of bone may be used as bone grafts on the facets, or, hockey puck-shaped plugs of bone may be placed between the vertebrae. Bones and bone grafts grow into one unit, stabilizing the vertebrae at that point of the spine.
 
Surgical decompression - For patients whose symptoms are due to spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal, a laminectomy is sometimes required in order to alleviate their pain. The operation is done under general anesthesia. The back part of the bone covering the spinal canal is removed over the area that is narrowed. This has the effect of relieving the compression on the nerve roots and allowing them to assume a freer, less irritating orientation. A laminectomy is also used when the disk is badly damaged and the surgeon needs greater access to perform a discectomy. If spinal stenosis is present, the surgeon may enlarge the foramen (opening between the vertebrae) to allow space for the nerve to exit.
 
Osteoporosis treatment - The goals of managing osteoporosis are to decrease pain, prevent fractures and minimize further bone loss. Some of the methods used to treat osteoporosis are also the methods to help prevent it from developing, including:
  • Maintain an appropriate body weight
  • Increase walking and other weight-bearing exercises
  • Minimize caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • Stop smoking
  • Maintain an adequate intake of calcium through diet and supplements.
  • Prevent falls in to prevent fractures (i.e., install hand railings, or assistive devices in the bathroom, shower, etc.)
  • Consult your physician regarding a medication regimen
For postmenopausal osteoporosis in women, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a number of medications to maintain bone health. Your physician will discuss what is right for you.
 
Spondylosis treatment - The goal of spondylosis treatment is relief of pain and prevention of permanent spinal cord and nerve root injury. In mild cases, treatment is usually not required. Symptoms from cervical spondylosis usually stabilize or regress with simple, conservative therapy, including a cervical collar (neck brace) to restrict motion and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Cortisone injections to specific areas of irritation may also be helpful.
 
For severe cases, narcotic medicine or muscle relaxants may help to reduce pain. Surgical decompression of the spinal cord in the neck may be recommended for severe back pain or for significant loss of movement, sensation or function.
 
Surgical procedures may involve removal of bone and disc tissue impinging on the nerves of the spinal cord and stabilization of the neck by fusing the cervical vertebrae.
 
Most patients with cervical spondylosis will have some chronic symptoms, but they respond to non-operative interventions and do not require back surgery.

Research and clinical trials

Research is fundamental to understanding and treating disease. Founded by Dr. Levine, the Bioengineering Biomechanics Laboratory at The Feinstein Institute for Biomedical Research exams the role of inflammation and mechanical stress in disc degeneration. Under the scientific leadership of Nadeen Chahine, PhD, the laboratory also conducts research on stem cell behavior in the disc environment in both healthy and diseased states.

The laboratory has published and presented at many prestigious international and national meetings and won the best paper award at the recent International Disc Biology meeting in Philadelphia.

Funded research is also being conducted utilizing disc tissue obtained from surgery to analyze the molecular mechanisms and correlates of disc disease and to understand the process of degeneration on a molecular level.

Our team

Mitchell Edward Levine, MD

  • Director, Spine Surgery, Department of Neurosurgery,
    Lenox Hill Hospital
  • Director, Spine Center,
    Neuroscience Institute
  • Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery,
    Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
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John Andrew Boockvar, MD

  • Vice Chair, Department of Neurosurgery,
    Lenox Hill Hospital
  • Director, Brain Tumor and Pituitary/ Neuroendocrine Center,
    Lenox Hill Hospital & Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital
  • Investigator, Laboratory for Brain Tumor Biology,
    The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
  • Professor, Neurosurgery and Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery,
    Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
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Jason A. Ellis, MD

  • Neurosurgeon,
    Lenox Hill Hospital
  • Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery,
    Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
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David Langer, MD

  • Chair, Department of Neurosurgery,
    Lenox Hill Hospital
  • Director,
    Moyamoya Center
  • Professor, Neurosurgery and Radiology,
    Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
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Rafael Alexander Ortiz, MD

  • Chief, Neuro-Endovascular Surgery and Interventional Neuroradiology,
    Lenox Hill Hospital
  • Associate Professor, Neurosurgery, Neurology and Radiology,
    Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
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Heustein Lu Sy, MD

  • Assistant Professor, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
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Jonathan Haim Oren, MD

Kiran Vithal Patel, MD

  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
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Clinical Professionals

Nadeen Chahine, PhD

  • Associate Investigator, Center for Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal Diseases,
    Associate Investigator, Center for Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal Diseases
  • Director, Bioengineering-Biomechanics Laboratory,
    The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
  • Associate Professor, Molecular Medicine and Neurosurgery,
    The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
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Keriann Tomlinson, MS, RN, NP-C, CCRN

  • Nurse Practitioner, Department of Neurosurgery,
    Lenox Hill Hospital
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Chad Bouton, MS

  • Division Leader, Neurotechnology and Analytics,
    The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
  • Vice President, Advanced Engineering,
    Northwell Health
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Ona E. Bloom, PhD

  • Associate Investigator, Center for Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal Disease,
    The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
  • Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine,
    Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
  • Associate Professor and Director of Research, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation,
    Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
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Lenox Hill Neurosurgery

Our centers

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

The researchers at the world-renowned Feinstein Institute for Medical Research are continually making advances in medicine.

130 East 77th Street , 3 Black Hall
New York, New York 10075
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