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John Y K Lee

Pennsylvania Hospital - Penn Medicine

About

Dr. John YK Lee has a passion for minimally invasive brain surgery. Patients fundamentally don’ t like to have brain surgery, and so I am continually finding ways to make it less invasive. Key technologies that help me to achieve this are 1., endoscopes, 2. fluorescent dyes, and 3. Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Patients with acoustic neuromas, trigeminal neuralgia, meningiomas, glioblastoma, hemifacial spasm can all benefit from novel visualization methods for better brain surgery!

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Testimonials

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It’ s been a little over 4 months since the removal of an epidermoid cyst in the cp angle measuring 3 cm. I lost my hearing, had head pressure headaches and was constantly dizzy and losing my balance. On November 8th 2017, Dr. Lee removed almost all of the tumor in a 6 hour surgery. 2 days later I went home. I cannot express my appreciation of what Dr. Lee and his team did for me. Being told you need brain surgery might be one of the scariest things you can be told. All of my symptoms have disappeared. I have regained my hearing and I am no longer dizzy or off balance. Life has returned to normal again, and it was all because of Dr. Lee and his team of Rock Stars! Words cannot express how grateful I am to them and how they helped me every step of the way!-Cheryl Federico

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Dr Lee has done my decompression surgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia 3 weeks ago 8/3/18 and I am completely pain free now!! After 2 neurologists telling me I didn’t have any compression on my mri and suffering for 5 years, Dr Lee took his time and found something that looked to be a blood vessel, turned out to be 2 veins wrapped around my trigeminal nerve. I was out of the hospital in 48 hours, and I was completely off all pain meds 2 weeks post surgery because I had no pain, not even incision pain. Since he has done an understudy with Dr Janetta the inventor of the MVD and he came up with a less invasive way to do the surgery, I wouldn’t have brain surgery by anybody else besides Dr Lee! He is very informative when you go for a consultation and he has wonderful bedside manor! Dr Lee has given me my life back and for that I will be forever grateful!!!-Maxine Moffa

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 I was diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma and was referred to Dr Lee! My tumor was very large so there was no option but surgery ! There are no words to say how thankful I am to Dr Lee and his assistant Denise Miller! Both are truly amazing and thanks to them I am making a full recovery! Truly the best!-MJ Travel

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Awards

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1998 Alpha Omega Alpha
2003 Preuss Award, Congress of Neurological Surgery Section on Brain Tumors
2005 University of Pittsburgh Resident Teaching Award
2005 Mayfield Basic Science Award - AANS/CNS Spine and Peripheral Nerve
2009 Ronald Tasker Award (mentorship of resident, Isaac Chen), Congress of Neurological Surgeons Section on Pain
2009 Philadelphia Top Docs 40 & Under, Philadelphia Magazine, April 2009
2011-present Philadelphia Top Docs, Philadelphia Magazine, May 2011
2015 Pain Award, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Chicago, IL
2017 Synthes Skull Base Award, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Los Angeles, CA

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Treatments and procedures offered: 

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1. Minimally Invasive Skull Base Surgery
2. Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery
3. Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery
4. Endoscopic Microvascular Decompression for Trigeminal Neuralgia
5. Brain Tumor Surgery

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Insurances Accepted:

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Everything that Penn accepts

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We are open on: 

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  • Business hours
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  • Early mornings
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Education and Degrees:

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BS - Yale University - Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
MD - Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson
MSCE - University of Pennsylvania

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Why are you the best in your specialty?

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Dr. John YK Lee has a passion for minimally invasive brain surgery. Patients fundamentally don’t like to have brain surgery, and so I am continually finding ways to make it less invasive. Key technologies that help me to achieve this are 1., endoscopes, 2. fluorescent dyes, and 3. Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Patients with acoustic neuromas, trigeminal neuralgia, meningiomas, glioblastoma, hemifacial spasm can all benefit from novel visualization methods for better brain surgery!

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Where does your passion for your profession come from?

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I am a hobby photographer from the old days (lightroom, slide film, light box). The beautiful thing about brain surgery is that when skull base surgery is well done, the beauty is so evident, everybody in the operating room can see it. Removing a brain tumor combines sculpture (DaVinci creation of statue of David from a chunk of stone) and photography/videography as I make the brain beautiful once again. Nothing makes me more passionate for example than removing a tumor that is making a patient blind, and by slowly chipping away at the tumor, I carefully reveal the patient’s optic nerve & chiasm, pituitary gland, basilar artery.

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What is the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a patient?

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I have this beautiful painting/thank you card from my patient’s seven year old daughter. The patient was going blind from a tumor, and I removed it skillfully with minimally invasive techniques, and the patient is cured. He can see, and his daughter wrote "Thank you Dr. Lee for fixing my Dad! I’m so so happy you could fix him so fast." It remains posted on my wall.

Special expertise

Brain Tumors, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Skull Base Tumors & Surgery, Endoscopic Surgery

Awards

Top Doctors: 2018

Hospitals

Primary Hospital: Pennsylvania Hospital - Penn Medicine