Medical Marvels: Delicate spinal surgery preserves woman's ability to walk, work, and raise family

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Medical Marvels: Delicate Spinal Surgery
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An MRI reveals a tumor in a young mother's spinal canal. See how the experts at NewYork-Presbyterian handled this challenging medical case and restored her spinal health.

WABC is taking you inside NewYork-Presbyterian for a look at some extraordinary stories that we call Medical Marvels. It's WABC's Emmy-nominated digital series exclusive to

Maya Katz is a young mother of three and a speech pathologist at a local school in New York City. She was dealing with chronic back pain that seemed to be triggered by her pregnancies and would then resolve after childbirth. After the birth of her third child, the pain got so bad she said, "I could not sleep at night" and also could not work. A friend pushed her to get an MRI leading her to Dr. Martin Zonenshayn, Chief of Neurosurgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.

The MRI revealed a tumor in her spinal canal and Dr. Zonenshayn reassured her that there was an 80 percent chance the tumor was benign. If the tumor had remained untreated, Maya would have lost bowel and bladder function and the use of her legs. During a five-and-a-half hour surgery, Dr. Zonenshayn used an electrical probe to stimulate the spinal nerves to determine their function. He then removed the tumor without serious neurological harm. The surgery was successful, and immediately provided relief. Luckily, the tumor was benign and Maya was able to return to work less than two months after surgery.

Maya expressed her gratitude saying, "Dr. Zonenshayn and his crew are unbelievable, the support, the comfort, the care that they provide you with is really unbelievable."

Click here for more information on Dr. Martin Zonenshayn, a Neurosurgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.