Ilya Laufer, MD

Ilya Laufer, MD

Spine Neurosurgeon


Neurosurgeon and Director of the Minimally Invasive Spine Tumor Surgery Program; Co-Director, Neuro Advanced Care Unit

Clinical Expertise

Primary and Metastatic Spinal Tumors; Complex Reconstruction and Stabilization of the Spine; Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery; Degenerative Spinal Disorders

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Accepted Insurance Providers

Dr. Laufer accepts the following list of insurance providers. Select your insurance provider to see more details.

Contact and Location

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Find a Convenient Location

Memorial Sloan Kettering has locations throughout New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester. These locations offers many services, including screening, chemotherapy, and medical testing.

About Me


MD, SUNY at Stony Brook


Neurosurgery - Weill Cornell Medical College


Johns Hopkins Hospital (Spine Oncology and Complex Reconstruction)

I am a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in spinal surgery, with expertise in the treatment of primary and metastatic spinal tumors, nerve tumors, and the use of neuromodulation as a therapy for treating cancer pain. 

As a member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Spine Tumor Center, my goal is to provide comprehensive care for all patients with spinal disorders. I specialize in spinal cord and nerve decompression, the surgical removal of spine tumors, and complex spinal reconstruction techniques. I also have extensive training in treating the full range of degenerative spinal disorders and perform more than 150 spine tumor operations each year. Most recently, I led the development of a surgical reference instrument for decisions around spine tumor surgery.

Our team develops a treatment plan for each person designed to control the tumor and relieve symptoms. These treatments include:

  • a combination of radiation treatments before and after surgery
  • arterial embolization, which blocks blood vessels to decrease blood loss
  • cement injection, which stabilizes the bones
  • intra-arterial chemotherapy
  • tumor excision (removal) and spinal reconstruction
  • intraoperative irradiation, which delivers concentrated radiation to portions of the surgical site

As a member of the Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Center, I use cutting-edge surgical techniques, including image-guidance and robotics to treat spinal tumors and degenerative disorders. Image guidance and robotics allow for increased precision during operations that require spinal reconstruction and stabilization, thereby minimizing the risk of neurologic injury and complications. Minimally invasive surgery decreases damage to tissues, which lessens surgical risk and postoperative pain and speeds recovery.

As a member of the Neuromodulation Center for Cancer Pain, I work with experts in anesthesiology and rehabilitation medicine to alleviate pain caused by cancer and its treatments. We use intrathecal drug delivery (which allows us to administer drugs directly into the spinal canal) and nerve and spinal cord stimulation to treat and cure cancer pain.

I am also a member of the Neurofibromatosis Center and treat patients with peripheral nerve tumors. While most of these tumors require conventional open surgeries, sometimes we are able to use robot-assisted techniques.

My research interests include new technologies for treating spinal and peripheral nerve tumors and cancer pain. I also design and lead studies and clinical trials to assess quality of life and determine the best ways to treat patients with spinal tumors. My goal is for patients to leave my office feeling hopeful, safe, and calm, with a clear action plan and confidence that they placed their trust in the right team.

Awards and Honors

  • Super Doctors New York Rising Stars 2015 and 2016
  • 38 spine surgeons to know under 40


Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering work as teams, with specialists from all different areas. This allows us to consider all your needs together, and to give you the best possible care.

Clinical Trials

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Find a Clinical Trial for You

Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.

You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.

Research and Publications

Publications on PubMed

Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Laufer’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.