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3-D Brain Navigation, Minimally Invasive Surgery Combine to Help Neurosurgeon Remove Tennis Ball-Sized Tumor

Cured by Dr. Ramin Rak, Roger Sencer Living Normal Life One Year Later.

(PRWEB) June 19, 2010 -- Huntington, New York resident Roger Sencer was driving home from work in May 2009 when he couldn’t remember important details of his own life. Realizing that something was seriously wrong, his wife Jane got him to Huntington Hospital. The news was not good: the emergency physician ran tests and found a large tumor the size of a tennis ball resting on his brain.

Following this startling diagnosis, Jane Sencer telephoned a family member working in the field, who arranged for Mr. Sencer to be transferred to a Manhattan hospital. But since Mr. Sencer had developed an immediate bond with neurosurgeon Ramin Rak, MD -- and the family member heard great things about Dr. Rak from others in the field – Mr. Sencer decided to stay put and have his surgery with Dr. Rak.

Fortunately, new minimally invasive surgical techniques guided by an advanced brain navigation system enabled Dr. Rak not just to treat Mr. Sencer, but to deliver a cure, while allowing Mr. Sencer to remain in the community and close to his loved ones.

“While all brain surgery cases are difficult, some are more difficult than others,” says Dr. Rak, who is a partner in Neurological Surgery, P.C., a private practice of leading neurosurgeons. “This was particularly true with Mr. Sencer’s case, as the tumor was not just large but in a difficult position, surrounded by vital blood vessels at the base of his skull.”

The eight-hour procedure involved using microsurgical techniques to remove the tumor, known as an olfactory groove meningioma.

Mr. Sencer’s tumor was resting on his olfactory nerve, which transmits odor signals to the brain. Once Dr. Rak began surgery, he discovered that the surgery would be more complicated than expected, due to the precarious position of one of the large blood vessels in Mr. Sencer’s skull. He would have to avoid this area in order to prevent damage to this structure and other serious consequences.

Assessing this potentially dangerous situation, Dr. Rak “custom designed” the surgery on the spot. This meant that he had to go in through another part of the skull that was further from the tumor, and then attack the tumor from both sides.

Dr. Rak used a neuronavigation system, which creates a presurgical 3D map of the patient’s brain, and allows the surgeon to operate more accurately. Before the surgery, Mr. Sencer underwent pre-operative navigation planning, integrating MRI images with technology that is similar to that found in global positioning devices. This technology enables surgeons to operate deep in the brain with a remarkable degree of accuracy.

Dr. Rak used minimally invasive microsurgical techniques to preserve Mr. Sencer’s olfactory nerve, which had been partially damaged by the tumor, and to avoid damage to blood vessels in the area. He completely removed the tumor.

Nearly eight hours later, the surgery was over and considered a success. The tumor was completely removed, and, Dr. Rak says, “Mr. Sencer emerged completely intact, and cosmetically, you cannot see the scars.” Mr. Sencer was even able to maintain his hair – including his trademark ponytail.

A few months after surgery, Roger Sencer was able to go back to work as a psychotherapist and tai chi instructor, and resume all normal activities.

How does he feel at the one-year anniversary of his surgery? “I feel good,” he says. He is doing all of the activities he loves: teaching, driving, sailing, and enjoying his friends and family. The best news of all is that he is tumor free – and cured.

About Neurological Surgery, P.C.:
Neurological Surgery, P.C. is one of the New York City area’s premier neurosurgical groups, offering patients the most advanced treatments of brain and spine disorders. These include minimally invasive procedures such as stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma Knife® and CyberKnife®), aneurysm coiling, neuro-endoscopy, spinal stimulators, carotid stents, interventional pain management, microdiscectomy, kyphoplasty, and X-STOP®. The practice’s physicians represent a range of surgical and nonsurgical specialties, combining compassionate care with highly specialized training. They are leaders in the region’s medical community, with appointments as chiefs of neurosurgery in some of Long Island’s best hospitals. NSPC offers eight convenient locations in Queens, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties. For more information, call 1-800-775-7784 or visit


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