Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is a neurosurgeon?

A neurosurgeon is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of disorders affecting the nervous system, including the brain, the spine, and spinal cord, and the peripheral nerves. Our neurosurgeons each have further specialization within the field, ensuring that you receive the most individualized care for your unique needs.

Is neurosurgery right for me?

Here at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s Department of Neurosurgery, the decision as to whether or not to perform surgery is made on a patient-by-patient basis. Our surgeons take into account many factors when determining if surgery is necessary for a patient, such as age, symptoms, their level of function, and risks. Our surgeons will often consult with physicians in other disciplines to make the most informed decision possible. Our treatment philosophy is essentially conservative, meaning that we will exhaust all other options before surgery, and often recommended treatments may be minimally invasive or completely noninvasive, depending on the condition. Our surgeons work with each individual patient to make sure that they fully understand their condition, their treatment options, and the decisions at hand. We understand that these decisions can be difficult, but our patients can take comfort in knowing that our physicians are among the best in the world and they have skills and expertise that informs their recommendations.

What makes Columbia Neurosurgery different?

Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Department of Neurosurgery is one of the top neurosurgery departments in the country, with over 20 highly subspecialized neurosurgeons. Our high level of specialization means that you will receive the most individualized care possible.

How do I choose a doctor?

If you have not been referred to a specific doctor, you may not know which one to request an appointment with. Each of our surgeons is highly experienced and board-certified, but if you’re unsure, you can call our office directly at 212-305-7950 and speak to an experienced staff member, who will direct you to an appropriate doctor based on your condition and specific needs. You can also visit the Find a Doctor page to view all of our doctors and filter by location and their areas of expertise to help you make a selection.

How do I make an appointment?

You may request an appointment by filling out the request an appointment form online or by calling our main office directly at 212-305-7950. You can also find the office phone numbers for each of our doctors.

Do I need recent imaging for my appointment?

Yes, your most recent image(s) must have been completed within the last six months. If the scan is older than six months, please have your primary or referring physician repeat the image study. Without this information, we may not be able to provide a thorough evaluation that best serves your needs.

Can the doctor evaluate my condition by reviewing my medical information and without seeing me in the office?

A preliminary assessment regarding your condition is often possible through a review of your history, symptoms, and reports from recent imaging (MRI, CT scan). This information can be forwarded to our physicians for review. However, a personalized treatment plan, especially one that might include surgery, usually requires an in-depth evaluation, examination, and discussion that is most accurately and comprehensively performed as part of an in-person consultation in our physician’s office and examination room.

What can I expect if I do need surgery?

We understand that the prospect of any surgery can be overwhelming, and we are here to help. We have created a What to Expect guide that outlines the day-of surgery process from check-in to getting discharged, complete with photos and instructions, so patients can familiarize themselves with the process before they even arrive.

How do I get to the office?

Our main office is located at 710 West 168th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10032, however, our surgeons see patients at several locations throughout the tri-state area, so please confirm which location your appointment is at. There are many options for how to get to each location, from public transportation to driving. For information on directions and to view maps, please visit our Locations page.

Is there parking at the hospital?

Parking in the CUIMC campus area is a scarce resource. For detailed parking information, please visit our Locations page.

Insurance Questions

Will insurance cover my visit?

Columbia Neurosurgery is a provider for numerous insurance plans. For the most accurate and up-to-date information possible, please contact your insurance provider directly and request specific information regarding coverage for your treatment. If you need specific information regarding a particular insurance carrier, please contact our insurance specialist at 212-305-7950.

Do you accept my insurance?

Our surgeons currently participate in a number of health insurance networks in New York. You may find that one physician takes your insurance while another does not. Be sure to check each individual physician’s participation. Please note that even if your insurance company does not appear on the list, you may be eligible for significant coverage. Be sure to contact our insurance specialist to learn about your eligibility.

Learn More About Insurance at Columbia Neurosurgery

What does it mean to be out-of-network?

Out-of-network means that we are not contracted with your insurance company.

Is a co-pay due at my first visit?

If your insurance policy requires you to make a co-payment for office visits with specialists, payment will be required at the time of service.

What is Columbia Neurosurgery’s payment policy?

We accept all major credit and debit cards. We currently do not accept cash or check payments.

Is there someone I can speak to about my insurance questions?

Yes. We have an insurance specialist who can answer all questions about Neurosurgery insurance. Please contact our insurance specialist (regarding neurosurgery only) at 212-305-7950.