At Elite Brain and Spine, our doctors have treated thousands of brain conditions including brain tumors, chiari malformations, strokes and other numerous conditions. We offer groundbreaking, minimally invasive treatments that reduce the risks that pose during brain surgery. Our patients benefit from the latest scientific knowledge about their conditions. Our brain specialists are experts and have plenty of experience in Brain Surgery, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Cranioplasties, Neuro-Oncology, and Skull Base Surgery.
Decades of Experience Treating Neurological Conditions
Our neurosurgeons are among the most well respected brain specialists in the Northeast. Together, they have treated thousands of patients since 1985 when our practice opened. Doctors Shahid and Batson are Chiefs of Neurosurgery at Danbury and Norwalk Hospitals. Dr. Sanderson has been a well known Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at NYU medical center, where he has specialized in minimally invasive neurosurgical procedures. With the best care, our team of neurosurgeons work together to solve and treat brain conditions.
Not only do we have talented neurosurgeons, our Physician Assistants (PA’s) are highly regarded as well. They are board certified through the American Association of Physician Assistants and have trained in the Norwalk Hospital and Yale School of Medicine Physician Assistant Surgical Residency Program, which is considered one of the top PA training programs in the United States.
We specialize in treatments of the following brain conditions.
Read more below or select an animated video.
An Arachnoid Cyst is a type of cyst that forms around the membrane in the brain or spine. The cysts are small fluid-filled sacs. Usually these cysts are present at birth, however they can occur if you experience trauma to the brain or spine.
Although there has been no defined cause of these cysts, family history of these cysts increases the likelihood of cysts in children. Many arachnoid cysts will not cause symptoms and will not need treatment. However, there are some cases where the cysts require treatment if the cyst grows and causes neurological symptoms.
- Changes in behavior
- Delayed mental development
- Hydrocephalus (fluid around the brain)
- Vision or hearing problems
- Visible protrusions on the head or spine
If you have an arachnoid cyst, it will be monitored over time if you show signs of symptoms. Your Elite Brain and Spine surgeon will discuss surgical options to remove or decrease the size of the cyst. Two of the most common surgical options our surgeons perform on arachnoid cysts include a craniotomy or placing a shunt. A craniotomy is when a small hole is made in the back of a skull to drain the cyst and to increase flow of the cerebrospinal fluid. A shunt is a tube placed into the cyst and stays there to drain the cyst. Your spine surgeon will discuss the best approach with you depending on your cyst.
Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM)
An arteriovenous malformation is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting veins and arteries that disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation. The arteries are responsible for taking oxygen rich blood from the heart to the brain and veins carry the oxygen depleted blood back to the heart and lungs. When there is an AVM, it disrupts this circuit causing the surrounding tissues to not get enough oxygen. Since the blood vessels are considered abnormal, it can cause them to weaken and rupture. If an AVM does rupture, it can cause bleeding in the brain, stroke or brain damage.
The cause of AVMs is not clear. There does not seem to be a strong hereditary component, however they can be caused by birth defects and get worse as the child ages.
- Difficulty with memory, speech or cognition
- Difficulty seeing or hearing
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle paralysis
Seek treatment as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of these conditions with one of the neurosurgeons at Elite Brain and Spine. We have the top neurosurgeons in Connecticut and are experts at treating AVMs. Your symptoms may become worse if you delay treatment.
Our top neurosurgeons at our brain and spine center have treated thousands of patients with these malformations and the patients have been able to live very healthy lives. Noninvasive and minimally invasive treatment options are usually used to treat these malformations. These options include Embolization and Stereotactic Radiosurgery. If one of these procedures does not provide enough relief for the patient, your spine specialist may suggest surgery to treat the AVM. This surgery is known as Arteriovenous Malformation Resection which is when your surgeon will use a small incision and small surgical instruments to remove or repair the malformation.
A brain aneurysm is a balloon or bulge in a blood vessel in the brain. There can be two types of anyresums: ruptured and unruptured aneurysms.
These factors may increase your risk of having a brain aneurysm:
- High blood pressure
- Drug use (particularly cocaine)
- Family history of brain aneurysms
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Marfan’s syndrome
- Arteriovenous (artery and vein) malformations (AVMs)
A ruptured aneurysm is a life-threatening condition that can cause a severe brain injury or even death. Once the aneurysm ruptures, it causes bleeding between the skull and brain (a subarachnoid hemorrhage).
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately
- Sudden, severe headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Double vision
- Stiff neck
- Loss of consciousness
If you have a ruptured aneurysm, you are at risk for other complications such as hydrocephalus which is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid that puts pressure on the brain and cerebral vasospasm which is abnormal narrowing of brain blood vessels. Other medical conditions can develop after a rupture so it is important to seek help immediately.
Patients who have an unruptured brain aneurysm usually experience no symptoms. However, if the aneurysm presses down on your brain or nerves these symptoms might appear:
- Weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg
- A drooping eyelid
- An enlarged pupil
- Decreased vision or double vision
- Pain above and behind the eye
- Localized headache
If a patient has an unruptured brain aneurysm, our doctors at Elite Brain and Spine will monitor it. However, if the aneurysm is large and looks like it may rupture, it may require treatment.
To determine the best treatment for our patients overall health, age and features of the aneurysm will help our best neurosurgeons determine which treatment is used. Usually, treatment options include microsurgical clipping or endovascular embolization.
Microsurgical clipping is a technique where a neurosurgeon removes a section of the skull and locates the artery feeding the aneurysm with a microscope. Once it is located, the neurosurgeon places a small metal clip at the opening of the aneurysm, which will stop the blood supply and prevent it from bleeding.
Endovascular embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed inside the blood vessels. A catheter (small plastic tube) is placed into the artery, usually in the patient’s groin. The interventional neuroradiologist who is specifically trained in this procedure will guide the catheter up into the neck arteries using X-rays to visualize the procedure. Detachable coils are then threaded through the catheter and placed in the aneurysm to fill it. This will reduce or cut off the blood flow into the aneurysm.
Brain tumors are abnormal cells in the brain that form a mass. There are different types of brain tumors that range from cancerous and noncancerous.
- Vision, hearing, or speech difficulties
- Memory problems
- A general feeling of weakness
- Loss of movement or sensation in the extremities
- Difficulty maintaining balance
- Personality changes
These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some brain tumors might be life-threatening so treating these symptoms early on can prevent the symptoms from getting worse.
Here at Elite Brain and Spine, there are many treatment options our brain specialists use to decrease the likelihood of brain tumors growing and spreading to other parts of the body. To treat the brain tumors your neurosurgeon will use non-surgical treatment options if available and will create treatment plans based on your lifestyle and goal. Examples of treatment options that Elite Brain and Spine specialists use are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, radiosurgery and targeted drug therapy.
Surgery is only recommended if the brain tumors do not respond to the non-surgical treatment options or if the brain tumors have spread to other parts of the brain or new tumors have appeared. The top neurosurgeons in Connecticut at Elite Brain and Spine have treated over thousands of brain tumors and have had patients fully recover and live a healthy life.
A cavernous malformation is an abnormal cluster of tiny blood vessels in the brain or spinal cord.These malformations are also referred to as a cavernoma, cavernous angioma, cavernous hemangioma of intracranial vascular malformation. They occur anywhere in the body but usually only produce symptoms when they are found in the spinal cord and brain.
The cause of cavernous malformation is not well-known. Research has found, however, that they can be inherited.
- Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Changes in vision
These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Catching a cancerous malformation in its early stages can cure this condition and symptoms. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment today with one of the best neurosurgeons in Connecticut at Elite Brain and Spine.
At Elite Brain and Spine there are many treatment options our specialists use. Cavernous Malformations can be treated non-surgically or surgically depending on your symptoms and condition. Some of the non-surgical options include observation and medication. Our neurosurgeons are experts at treating cavernous malformations.
A craniotomy is a surgical procedure that cuts and removes a bony flap from the skull to access the brain. Once the surgery is complete, the flap is placed back onto the skull using screws and plates which hold the flap in place while it heals.
Reasons for Craniotomies:
- Remove brain tumors
- Repair a brain aneurysm
- Drain blood or remove blood clots
- Remove an abnormal mass
- Drain an abscess
- Repair a tear in the brain lining
- Relieve pressure on the brain
- Treat epilepsy, Parkinson disease, dystonia, or hydrocephalus
Here at Elite Brain and Spine, your surgery is performed as an inpatient procedure. Your recovery time and hospital stay is determined by our best neurosurgeons and what is deemed fit for you. Our neurosurgeons have performed thousands of craniotomies and are experts on the procedure.
A cranioplasty is a surgical procedure that repairs bone in the skull that was damaged by previous injuries or operations. The procedure aims to try and make a normal shape of the skull and repair the damaged bone by using a graft. This graft can be made out of mesh, titanium bone substitute, or acrylic. To secure the graft, the neurosurgeon will use a plate, screws or sometimes both.
Your cranioplasty is performed as an inpatient procedure by Elite Brain and Spine Neurosurgeons. The surgical operation will usually take one to two hours. Afterward, the patients are brought to the neurosurgical care unit and monitored for about two to three days.
A Chiari malformation is a rare neurological condition where the brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. This can happen due to the cerebellum being too small or deformed. It causes pressure on the brain and can cause a wide range of symptoms. However, there are some cases where you will not have any symptoms with a chiari malformation.
There are three different types of chiari malformations.
Chiari Malformation Type I
It occurs when the brain and skull are growing. The symptoms do not usually show until later in childhood or adulthood. Symptoms include:
- Neck pain
- Problems with balance motor skills
- Speech or Vision problems
Chiari Malformation Type II
This type is caused when the spine and spinal canal do not close properly before birth. Symptoms include:
- Changes in breathing patterns
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weakness in the arms
Chiari Malformation Type III
This happens when the part of the brainstem or cerebellum extends through an opening in the back of the skull. Type III is very rare and is usually diagnosed during pregnancy or at birth.
Chiari malformations treatment plans depend on the type and severity. At Elite Brain and Spine, your neurosurgeon may recommend observing the malformation if no symptoms are present. If there are symptoms, our brain specialists may recommend surgery since it is the best way to correct the malformation and reduce symptoms. The most common surgery is called Posterior Fossa Decompression. This procedure allows the pressure in the brain to decrease by removing a small piece of the back of your skull. Our neurosurgeons have done many procedures and will help you figure out your best treatment option.
A Glioblastoma is the most common type of malignant brain tumor in adults. It starts in the cerebrum and quickly spreads to other areas in the brain.
- Nausea, vomiting
- Distorted thinking
- Mood or personality changes
- Double or blurred vision
- Difficulty speaking
These symptoms can range from mild to severe, but treating a glioblastoma early on is very important. Since it is an aggressive form of cancer, the earlier you catch it, the better.
It is very difficult to cure a glioblastoma, however there are treatment options that can slow or stop the cancer from spreading and will alleviate a patient’s symptoms. Here at Elite Brain and Spine in Connecticut, a glioblastoma can be treated using four treatment options. These treatments are surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and electric field therapy. Our neurosurgeons will sometimes combine treatments to help fight cancer. Our top neurosurgeons are excellent at performing Glioblastoma surgeries.
Hydrocephalus is a neurological condition that causes increased fluid and pressure in the brain. It can occur at any age, but is most frequently seen in children and adults who are 60 and over. As the condition progresses, it can become life-threatening.
- A large head
- A rapid increase in head size
- A bulging or soft spot on the top of the head
- Trouble sleeping
- Personality changes
- Muscle tone and strength deficits
- Eyes that look downward
- Non-responsiveness to touch
- Blurred vision or double vision
- Trouble with balance and coordination
- Decreased appetite
- Urination inconsistency
- Memory and concentration problems
Symptoms can be very mild to severe. Treating hydrocephalus early on can prevent symptoms from getting worse.
To treat this condition, surgery is recommended. At Elite Brain and Spine, there are two surgical options that can treat and relieve hydrocephalus symptoms. A shunt can be placed in the brain that will make sure fluid flows properly throughout the brain. A second surgical option is an Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy which is a surgical procedure that uses a small camera and instruments to make a hole in the bottom of the ventricles to allow fluid to flow out of the brain. Luckily, all of the best neurosurgeons are at Elite Brain and Spine and are experts at performing both types of surgeries.
Intracerebral hemorrhage, also known as a stroke, is a condition where a blood vessel in the brain bursts and blood leaks inside the brain. It is very common in later adulthood. This condition could be life-threatening and life-altering. It is important if you are experiencing any of these symptoms to seek medical attention.
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the face, arm, or leg
- Loss of consciousness
- Temporary vision loss
Symptoms can range from mild to very severe. Catching an intracerebral hemorrhage in its early stages can prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Damage from an intracerebral hemorrhage cannot be reversed. However, there are many treatment options at Elite Brain and Spine that can slow or stop the damage from becoming worse. This condition can be treated non-surgically. The specialists at Elite Brain and Spine will figure out the best treatment plan based on your goal and lifestyle. These treatments include:
- Blood pressure medications
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Pain medications
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Lifestyle (diet, exercise, stress factor) changes
Minimally invasive treatment options or surgery may be recommended by our top neurosurgeons based on the severity of your symptoms and of the hemorrhage itself. Our neurosurgeons are experts on performing surgeries on intracerebral hemorrhages.
Neuromuscular disorders are common conditions that cause damage to the brain or spinal cord. These disorders can include strokes and aneurysms. They can result in life-altering symptoms.
- Paralysis (partial or complete)
- Sensation loss (partial or complete)
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty reading, writing, speaking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
Symptoms can range from very mild to severe. Treating neurovascular disorders early on can prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Damage from a neurovascular disorder cannot be reversed, but there are many treatments at Elite Brain and Spine that can slow or stop the damage from becoming worse and relieve the symptoms the patients are experiencing. Here at Elite Brain and Spine, our neurosurgeons can treat the disorders non-surgically. The treatments include:
- Anti-seizure medications
- Anti-clotting medications
- Blood thinners
- Disease-modifying drugs
- Dopaminergic medications
- Physical therapy
Our board-certified neurosurgeons may recommend minimally invasive treatment options or surgery depending on the stage of a patient’s neurovascular disorder. Our neurosurgeons will only suggest surgery if the disorder does not respond to the non-surgical treatment options.
Skull Tumors are tumors that are located where the brain meets the base of the skull. Some of these skull tumors can be cancerous. This means that the tumors can grow and spread to other parts of the brain, which could be life-threatening and difficult to treat.
- Vision or hearing loss
- Memory problems
- A general feeling of weakness
Symptoms can range from mild to very severe. Catching a skull tumor in its early stages can prevent symptoms from getting worse.
At Elite Brain and Spine, there are many treatment options that can help decrease the growth of skull tumors and stop them from spreading. Skull tumors are treated non-surgically by our neurosurgery specialists. The treatment may involve a combination of:
- Stereotactic radiation
Surgery is only recommended if skull tumors do not respond to non-surgical treatment options.
Microvascular Decompression & Trigeminal Neuralgia
Microvascular Decompression is a surgical procedure that is used to relieve compression of the cranial nerve. It involves opening the craniotomy (skull) and inserting a sponge between the nerve and close artery triggering the pain signals and to decompress the nerve.
Microvascular Decompression is performed as an inpatient procedure.There are 6 steps that are performed throughout the surgery:
- Incision. A tiny incision is made in the brain.
- Craniotomy. A craniectomy is performed to expose the brain.
- Expose the nerve. Tiny retractors and instruments are used to expose the compressed nerve.
- Insert Sponge. A sponge is placed on the nerve and adjacent artery.
- Place Plate & Screws. A small plate and screws are placed over the bone that was removed during the craniectomy.
- Close. The incision is carefully closed.
The procedure lasts about two to three hours. Once the procedure is finished, the patient is taken to the neurovascular care unit. The patient will usually stay between one and two days. It is decided between you and the neurosurgery specialist. At Elite Brain and Spine, our neurosurgeons have performed thousands of Microvascular decompressions and are experts.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a rare chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve that blocks nerve signs that carry sensation from the face to the brain. This results in pain while people perform simple activities throughout their day. This condition is seen in later adulthood or in patients who have a neurovascular disease or injury.
- Pain in jaw, cheek, teeth, gums, lips, eye and forehead
- Aching, shooting, stabbing or shocking pain
- Pain while chewing, brushing your teeth or speaking
- Severe pain episodes lasting weeks, months or longer
- Short pain attacks ranging from a few seconds to several minutes
- Constant pain
Symptoms can range from mild to very severe. Treating trigeminal neuralgia in its early stages can prevent symptoms from getting worse.
At Elite Brain and Spine, there are many different treatment options. The specialists will use non-surgical treatment options if applicable to the patients symptoms and diagnosis. These treatments include:
- Anticonvulsant medications
- Antispasmodic medications
- Botox injections
Surgery or minimal invasive treatment options may be recommended by our specialists at Elite brain and Spine depending on the severity of the trigeminal neuralgia or if the trigeminal neuralgia does not respond to the non-surgical treatment options.
A Stereotactic biopsy is a surgical procedure where a small piece of tissue from the brain is removed. The tissue from the brain is examined under a microscope for abnormalities that may lead to cancer or other diseases. Once the report is written by the pathologist, a neurosurgeon can make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Here at Elite Brain and Spine, the procedure is simple. It will be performed minimally invasively using a thin needle and is an outpatient procedure. The steps to the procedure are listed below:
1. Incision. A small incision and opening are made at the top of the skull.
2. Insert needle. A thin needle is carefully inserted and a tissue sample is obtained.
3. Closure. Close the incision and cover it with a dressing.
The procedure should not take more than an hour. The patient will need to stay overnight since the procedure is usually done under general anesthesia. Our board-certified neurosurgeons have performed many stereotactic biopsies, so you are in the best hands!
Stereotactic Radio Surgery
Stereotactic radiosurgery is a non-surgical radiation therapy used to treat tumors and other abnormalities in the brain. The purpose of the procedure is to have enough radiation to kill the unhealthy or abnormal cells in the brain without damaging the surrounding brain tissue.
This procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure. Luckily, at Elite Brain and Spine, there is no need to perform this brain surgery as an open incision. Here, our board-certified neurosurgeons are able to perform it by using high-energy radiation. The steps to the procedure are listed below:
- Anesthesia. Local anesthesia is given to the patient so there is no pain or discomfort during the procedure.
- Stabilize Head. A lightweight head frame is placed on the skull to ensure the head stays perfectly still and radiation is delivered.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation is delivered to the skull through a machine while the patient is lying down comfortably.
The procedure should take no longer than one hour. Once the procedure is complete, patients are able to return home on the same day. Our brain specialists have performed thousands of stereotactic radiosurgery, so you are in the best hands!
A stroke is a condition where blood supply to a certain part of your brain is either interrupted or reduced which prevents brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, brain cells start to die within minutes, causing a stroke. This is mostly seen in older populations, however there are some cases that are in early adult life.
- Sudden weakness
- Numbness of the face, arms, legs or an entire side of the body
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty understanding speech
- Difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes
- Difficulty walking
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms call 9-1-1. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Catching a stroke early on will prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Unfortunately, damage from a stroke cannot be reversed, but here at Elite Brain and Spine there are many treatment options that can stop or slow the damage from becoming worse and relieve the symptoms of a stroke. The treatment plans at Elite Brain and Spine are listed below:
- Anti-clotting medications
- Antiplatelet medications
- Anticoagulant medications
- Physical therapy
- Lifestyle (diet, exercise, stress factor) changes
Our board-certified neurosurgeons will create a treatment plan based on what is best for you. However, sometimes minimally invasive surgery is necessary depending on the severity of the stroke.
Subdural Hematoma Embolization
A Subdural Hematoma Embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to relieve pressure on the brain by using a microcatheter and medications caused by a subdural hematoma. Once the surgeon puts the microcatheter in place, medications are released through it to block the blood flow to the hematoma.
Here at Elite Brain and Spine, our specialists perform this procedure minimally invasively using live X-ray visualization and a microcatheter. The steps to the procedure are listed below:
- Incision. A very tiny incision is made on the arm or leg. The microcatheter is then placed through it.
- Microcatheter placement. A contrast material is placed through the catheter. After, X-rays are taken to make sure it is perfectly positioned to the hematoma.
- Medication Released. A medication or synthetic material is released through the microcatheter.
- Close. The incision is closed and covered with dressings.
The length of the procedure can vary depending on the complexity of the hematoma. It may take only 30 minutes, but it could take up to a couple of hours. Usually, patients will be able to leave the same day as the procedure. The best neurosurgeons in Connecticut at Elite Brain and Spine have performed thousands of Subdural Hematoma Embolization’s, so you are in the best hands!