I am a board-certified neurosurgeon who has been at Memorial Sloan Kettering since 1995. I specialize in the care of patients with primary and metastatic tumors of the spine and spinal cord, as well as those with sinonasal and skull-base tumors.
I am the director of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s multidisciplinary spine tumor team, which has a weekly, multidisciplinary clinic and tumor board to facilitate coordinated patient care. This focused group is comprised of dedicated physicians from neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, radiation oncology, neuroradiology, interventional neuroradiology, medical oncology, physiatry, and pain and palliative care. The evolution of specialized techniques in each discipline has significantly improved the treatment of patients with spine and paraspinal tumors.
Our team evaluates over 1,400 spine tumors a year, with the goal of creating an individualized treatment plan for each patient that is most effective for improving neurologic function and mobility, stabilizing the spine, controlling local tumor growth, and ultimately improving quality of life.
Although just 10 percent of patients will require spine surgery, all will need effective treatment to prevent paralysis and provide meaningful pain relief. While I have developed a number of novel surgical techniques to treat spine tumors and operate on 150 benign and malignant spine tumors each year, the majority of patients can be effectively treated non-invasively with stereotactic radiation therapy and the possible addition of percutaneous kyphoplasty. In this latter technique, the radiologist inserts bone cement into a vertebra through a very minimally invasive procedure in order to provide support and relieve pain.
In addition, I am the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and I served as a lead author on the book Tumors of the Spine. I have lectured across the United States and around the world about the treatment of spine and skull-base tumors. I am on the editorial board of the Annals of Surgical Oncology, Neurosurgery, and Skull Base Surgery.
Working with my radiation oncology and physics colleagues Drs. Josh Yamada and Michael Lovelock, I serve as one of the lead investigators in the International Spine Radiosurgery Consortium, which is aimed at improving the delivery and effectiveness of radiosurgery. I have also served as the director of the metastatic section of the Spine Oncology Study Group.
- Clinical Expertise: Metastatic and Primary Malignant Spine Tumors; Benign Spine Tumors (Schwannoma, Meningioma, Neurofibroma); Intramedullary Spinal Cord Tumors (Ependymoma, Astrocytoma); Brain Tumors
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, Emory University
- Residencies: The New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center
- Fellowships: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; University of Louisville
- Board Certifications: Neurological Surgery
Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.
Clinical Trials Co-Investigated by Mark H. Bilsky
- A Phase I Study of Single-Dose Radiation Therapy to Treat Spine Metastases that Have Been Irradiated Before
- A Phase II Study of Single-Dose versus Multiple-Dose Radiation Therapy for Spine Metastases
- A Pilot Study of Image-Guided Navigation for High-Dose Rate Brachytherapy to Manage Discomfort in Patients with Previously Treated Spine Tumors