Departmental News


Surgery in the skull base area has in recent decades established itself as a major new addition to surgical care. It involves a multidisciplinary effort out of necessity. No one surgeon can obtain, much less sustain, all the skills required to deal with the complex nature of tumors and other disorders located in the skull base area.

Teaming up to perform skull base surgery at Stony Brook, Eric E. Smouha, MD, associate professor of surgery (otolaryngology-head and neck surgery) and neurosurgery, and Raphael P. Davis, MD, associate professor and acting chair of neurosurgery, are working closely together to provide treatment for diseases that previously were debilitating or fatal.

As skull base surgeons, Dr. Smouha and Dr. Davis enjoy a reputation for excellence,
an enviably low complication rate, and a loyal patient following.

Skull base surgery encompasses a wide variety of operations performed at the interface of the brain and neck where an intricate complex of major nerves, glands, and blood vessels is found. It includes surgery for acoustic neuromas, meningiomas, pituitary tumors, and other benign and malignant tumors at the base of the skull.

In the past, surgeons were unable to perform surgery in the skull base area because of its complex anatomy and the risk to delicate and vital structures. However, advances in diagnostic, therapeutic, and reconstructive techniques now allow successful treatment of lesions deep in the skull base through team surgery, usually through a collaboration of a neurosurgeon and otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon.

Dr. Smouha and Dr. Davis have years of experience as a team performing skull base surgery. Their philosophy of treatment is a combination of conservative case management with state-of-the-art procedures and technology. Treatment plans are individualized to each patient's needs.

Serial observation, stereotactic radiation, image-guided surgery, and minimally invasive techniques are favored whenever possible. When appropriate, more invasive procedures are recommended. The choice of treatment depends on the type and location of the lesion, the patient's symptoms and their duration, and the age and health of the patient.

Together, Dr. Smouha and Dr. Davis have used their combined multidisciplinary expertise to successfully treat hundreds of patients. They are committed to providing the best care for each individual patient, in a caring and compassionate environment.

In addition to our expert surgical team, skilled specialists in interventional neuroradiology, stereotactic radiosurgery, and neuroanesthesiology enhance our services. The team is further supported by physician assistants and nurse practitioners, most of whom have many years of experience directly in the field of brain and spine surgery.

n Patient access to both surgeons at the same patient visit, optimizing patient time and efforts
n Joint conference of the two specialists immediately, further saving time to provide a swift course of action
n Enhanced patient care through a thoroughly coordinated process
n Close monitoring of patient progress through coordinated records and physician conferences


Dr. Smouha is the director of otology-neurotology at University Hospital. He received his certification as Diplomate of the American Board of Otolaryngology in 1986, and has been a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) since 1993. He received his MD from McGill University, and then trained at St. Vincent's Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital in New York, and the Ear Research Foundation of Florida. He received the Honor Award from the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery in 1998. In 1999, he was included in the Best Doctors on-line database (formerly Woodward/White's Best Doctors in America) and Castle Connolly's How to Find the Best Doctors: New York Metro Area. He is a fellow of the American Neurotology Society and the North American Skull Base Society.

Dr. Davis received his MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, graduating summa cum laude. He trained at Mount Sinai Medical Center under Dr. Leonard Malis, who is considered one of the fathers of modern microneurosurgery. He obtained his certification as Diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery in 1990. He was featured in Castle Connolly's How to Find the Best Doctors: New York Metro Area in 1997. He was promoted to the position of acting chair of neurosurgery and University Hospital's neurosurgeon-in-chief in 1999.

For consultations/appointments with our skull base surgeons, please call 631-444-1213, option 4, and then option 2.

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