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/// About

/// The Craniospinal Center

A Comprehensive Center for the Treatment of Brain and Spine Problems.

Brian R. Gantwerker, M.D. specializes in the treatment of degenerative and traumatic diseases of the spine and brain including spinal cord and brain injury, and brain tumors. Treatment options range from minimally invasive techniques, through traditional surgery to Gamma Knife Radiosurgery. Dr. Gantwerker is committed to providing newly advanced techniques for the treatment of brain and spine problems from herniated discs to brain cancer. He is proficient in both minimally invasive and complex brain and spinal surgeries.

A Chicago native Dr. Gantwerker attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There he did his pre-medical education and graduated magna cum laude.  He received his medical degree at Rush Medical College in Chicago where he focused on peripheral nerve regeneration research. He completed his neurosurgical residency at University Hospitals of Cleveland and studied spinal cord regeneration with stem cells at Case Western School of Medicine. He completed a dedicated Gamma Knife rotation during his residency. At the world-renowned Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, Dr. Gantwerker completed his complex spine fellowship in 2009.

Dr. Gantwerker has authored several book chapters and peer reviewed journal articles. He appeared on television and in radio interviews, and has instructed undergraduates, medical students, and residents in various neurosurgical topics and neuro-anatomy. Dr. Gantwerker is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Golden Key honor societies, and a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, the North American Spine Society, and the American Medical Association.



Dates                                       Institution/Dept.                                   Degree/Position

8/93-5/97                     University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign                B.S.   magna cum laude

9/97-6/01                     Rush Medical College of Rush University                  M.D.




7/1/01-6/30/02         Case Western Reserve/General Surgery                      Intern

7/1/02-6/30/04         Case Western Reserve/Neurosurgery                          Resident

7/1/07-6/30/08         Case Western Reserve/Neurosurgery                         Chief Resident

7/1/08-6/30/09         Barrow Neurological Institute                                        Complex Spine Fellow




1999 – Micro dissection of peripheral nerve, preparation of specimens for fixation, slide preparation and staining, rodent spinal laminectomy and DRG harvesting

2006 – Worked in Dr. Jerry Silver’s lab using recombinant multipotent stem cells for use in spinal cord injury, became proficient in cell culture, some experience with viral vectors.

2008-9 – Working in concert with Dr. Sonntag and Dr. Neil Crawford in spinal biomechanics on a novel thoracic pedicle screw template, measuring facet loading in artificial discs using a computer model, novel model of TL junction burst fractures and classification



Sobeski JK, Kerns JM, Safanda JF, Gantwerker BR, Shott S, Gonzalez, MH:  Functional And Structural Effects Of GM-1 Ganglioside Treatment On Peripheral Nerve Grafting In The Rat, Microsurgery 21: 108-115, 2001

Gantwerker BR, Hoffer SA, Preul M, Theodore, N:  Current Concepts in    Neural Regeneration After Traumatic Brain Injury, Barrow Quarterly 23(1): 15-19, 2007

Gantwerker BR, “Discitis Leading to Epidural Abscess,” Neuroscience Innovations, Northridge Hospital and Medical Center, August 2010

Gantwerker BR, Baaj AA, Maughan PH, McDougall CG, White WL.

Case Report:  Vertebral artery injury during cervical discectomy and fusion in a patient with bilateral anomalous arteries in the disc space. Neurosurgery. 67(3):E874-E875, September 2010

Gantwerker BR and Dickman CA.  Tandem intercostal thoracic schwannomas resected using a thoracoscopic nerve-sparing technique.  Neurosurgery.  69(1):E225-E229, July 2011

Gantwerker BR, Dickman CA, Sonntag VKH.  Craniocervical junction instability after lateral approach of the craniocervical junction.  In:  George, Bruneau, Spetzler, Pathology and Surgery around the vertebral artery.  Springer-Verlag, France, 2011

Gantwerker BR, Spetzler RF, Sonntag VKH.  Upper cervical and craniocervical decompression.  In:  Benzel EC, Spine Surgery:  Techniques, Complication, and Avoidance.  Elsevier, 2012 (in press)

Baaj AA, Gantwerker BR, Vale FL, Theodore N, Dickman CA, Crawford NR, Sonntag VKH.  Computed tomography analysis of thoracolumbar fractures based on axial zones.  (abstract accepted for publication to Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques)



“Menginioangiomatosis,” Clinicopathological conference, Depts. Of Neurology and Neurosurgery, 2/19/04

“Parasellar Meningiomas,” Clinicopathological conference, Depts. Of Neurology and Neurosurgery, 3/18/04

“Choroid Plexus Carcinoma,” Clinicopathological conference, Depts. Of Neurology and Neurosurgery, 5/7/04

“Acidophil Stem-Cell Adenoma,” Clinicopathological conference, Depts. Of Neurology and Neurosurgery, 6/16/05

“Granulomatous Angiitis,” Clinicopathological conference, Depts. Of Neurology and Neurosurgery, 4/20/06

“The Posterior Fossa,” w/ Dr. Warren R. Selman, Dept. of Otolaryngology Grand Rounds, 4/18/07

“Spontaneous Vertebral Artery Dissection,” Clinicopathological conference, Depts. Of Neurology and Neurosurgery, 4/19/07

“Ossification of the Posterior Longitudinal Ligament,” Grand Rounds, Barrow Neurological Institute, 9/19/08

“Recurrent Disc: Fuse or No Fusion,” w/ Dr. Volker Sonntag, Debate at 2009 Meeting of the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, Phoenix, AZ, 3/14/09

“Intramedullary Spinal Cord Tumors,” CME Lecture, Northridge Hospital Medical Center, 6/8/10

“Cervical Spine Emergencies,” Northridge Family Practice Resident Lecture, 7/23/10

“Neurotrauma Primer,” Northridge Operating Room Staff Trauma Seminar, 9/25/10

“Brain Trauma,” Northridge Family Practice Resident Lecture, 10/28/10

“Pains in the neck common (and uncommon) reasons for cervical spine emergencies,” CME Lecture, Facey Medical Group Medicine Meeting, 11/11/10

“Low Back Pain: Diagnosis, Treatment, Surgical Indications & Options,” CME Lecture, Tarzana Medical Center, 11/29/10

“External Ventricular Drains & ICP – Part 1,” Lecture given to ICU RN Staff at Providence Tarzana Medical Center, 6/29/11

“External Ventricular Drains & ICP – Part 2,” Lecture given to ICU RN Staff at Providence Tarzana Medical Center, 8/10/11

“Low Back Pain: Diagnosis, Treatment, Surgical Indications & Options,” CME Lecture, Northridge Hospital and Medical Center, 9/13/11

“Chronic Low Back Pain,” CME Interdisciplinary Discussion, Health Care Partners, Mission Hills, CA, 9/21/11

“Cervical Spine Collar In-service,” Providence Tarzana Medical Center, Tarzana CA, several dates in 2011.

“Spinal Stenosis:  Evaluation and Management, CME Lecture, Northridge Hospital, 6/22/12

“Spinal Stenosis:  Evaluation and Management, CME Lecture, Tarzana Hospital, 8/6/12



“Neurocutaneous Syndrome and Dandy Walker Cyst in an Adult Patient” Walbert T, Koubiessi MZ, Mikolaenko I, Gantwerker BR, Sloan AE. Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2008 Annual Meeting.

“Treatment Algorithm for Thoracolumbar Fractures based on Axial Zones” Baaj AA, Gantwerker BR, Theodore N, Dickman CA, Vale FL, Uribe JS, Crawford NR, Sonntag VKH.  Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2009 Annual Meeting.




Golden Key National Honor Society, 1997

Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, 1997

Theta Chi International Fraternity, 1993-1997

AANS-Resident Member and CNS-Resident/Fellow Member, 2002-2009

AANS/CNS Joint Section on Spine and Peripheral Nerve – Member, 2003

Resident Coordinator and Instructor, Neurosurgical Practical Lab 2005-2007

North American Spine Society-Member, 2006

Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, 2006

Member Resident Education Committee, CWRU Neurosurgery Dept., 2006-2007

CWRU Medical School Neuroanatomy teaching assistant, Dept. of            Neuroscience 2006-7

American Medical Association, 2007-present

Arizona Medical Board, Neurosurgical Case Reviewer 2009-present

Sonntag Society, 2009

Congress of Neurological Surgeons, member, 2010

American Association of Neurological Surgeons, member, 2010

Jewish Vocational Service Scholarship Committee 2010 – present

Trauma Peer Review Committee, Northridge Hospital, 2010-present

Surgery Peer Review Committee, Northridge Hospital, 2011-present

California Medical Association, 2011-present

Los Angeles County Medical Association, 2011-present

California Association of Neurological Surgeons, 2012-present



State of Illinois General Assembly Scholarship, 2-time winner – 1996, 1997

University of Illinois Dean’s List 1993-1997,

University of Illinois Campus Honors Program, 1997

Jewish Vocational Service Scholarship Winner, 2000



English, French




Academic:  treatment of traumatic spine and spinal cord injury, degenerative         spinal diseases, minimally invasive spine surgery, trigeminal neuralgia, brain tumors, stereotactic radiosurgery

Personal:  computers, jazz and electronic music, abstract art, cultural anthropology, Russian literature, classic American literature and cinema, baseball, hockey, travel




“KTLA: Bret Michaels Suffers Severe Brain Hemorrhage — Carolyn Costello reports,” expert appearance, 4/24/2010

Jewish Vocational Service Scholarship Award Ceremony Invited Speaker, 7/7/10

KHTS Radio 1220AM “Aging with Power, with Myles McNamara:  Gamma Knife Surgery and Spine Problems,” personal appearance 7/20/10

KHTS Radio 1220AM “Aging with Power, with Myles McNamara:  Spine Health,” personal appearance 9/7/10

830 AM “The Ronnie Kovatch Show,” appearance for Providence Tarzana Medical Center personal appearance 6/2/12

“Your Health, Your Decision” television and web videos, KCBS & KTLA, continuously aired starting 9/12

“7 Spine Surgeons on Biggest Opportunities for Growth in Spinal Surgery,” Becker’s Spine Review,

“6 Steps to Optimize OR Efficiency & Cut Costs With Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery,” Becker’s Spine Review,–cut-costs-with-minimally-invasive-spine-surgery

“Spine Surgeon Leader to Know: Dr. Brian Gantwerker of The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles,” Becker’s Spine Review,

“7 Thoughts on How President Barack Obama’s Re-Election Impacts Spine Surgery,” Becker’s Spine Review,

“Where is Spine Research Headed? 4 Surgeons Responses,” Becker’s Spine Review, Featured Article,

“176 Physician Leaders in the Ambulatory Surgery Center Industry,” Becker’s Spine Review, Featured Article,


/// Medical Offices

At the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles we are serving patients with Spinal Problems in Northridge, West Hills, Woodland Hills, Agoura, Calabasas, Encino, Studio City, Brentwood, West Los Angeles, Tarzana, Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica.

We have two convenient locations in
the Greater Los Angeles area:

San Fernando Valley:
18350 Roscoe Boulevard
Suite 318
Northridge, CA 91325
Santa Monica / Westside:
2811 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 840
Santa Monica, CA 90403

/// Testimonials

What our patients say about us

    • “I had not seen another specialist but had extreme confidence in my Internist’s recommendation of Dr. Gantwerker.”

      Jan Michaels


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