Stanford Neurosurgery Education

The Stanford Neurosurgery Training Program is seven years in length: Five clinical years and two research-career development years. We admit three applicants per year. The PGY-1 year consists of Stanford Health Care (SHC) rotations teaching basic clinical skills in adult and pediatric surgery, critical care of patients with adult and pediatric neurosurgical and neurologic diseases, adult and pediatric neurology, neuroradiology, neuropathology, neurophysiology (EEG, intraoperative monitoring, EMG, NCV), neuro-ophthalmology, neuro-anesthesiology, stereotactic radiosurgery, and endovascular neurosurgery. The PGY-2 is spent as Junior Resident at SHC. During the PGY-3 year, the resident leads the neurosurgery service for four months each at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH), and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS). Years PGY-4 and PGY-5 are devoted to career development in the form of basic science research, clinical research in the context of an enfolded clinical fellowship, or special academic pursuit. Recent residents have earned advanced degrees in Epidemiology, completed Stanford’s Biodesign Fellowship Program, and served as a White House Fellow. The final two years, PGY-6 and PGY-7, entail intensive operative experience in the entire spectrum of neurosurgical practice at Stanford Health Care, with four months of the PGY-6 operating on the neurosurgery service at Kaiser Permanante Redwood City Medical Center.

Stanford’s Neurosurgery Training Program benefits from the teaching of 30 full-time clinical and 19 research faculty members. Each of the five hospitals - SHC, LPCH, VAPAHCS, SCVMC, and Kaiser has attending neurosurgeons highly supportive of the training program. Over 4000 neurosurgical operations covering the full spectrum of neurosurgical problems are performed annually.

Program Goals and Philosophy

Our goals in training Neurosurgery Residents are (1) to develop clinical skills including accurate and concise diagnosis, proficient surgical technique, excellent patient management, personal maturity, and a humanistic approach to patients; (2) to instill a deep commitment to academic and research pursuits, including the ability to perform and analyze clinical and basic research, facility in writing and public speaking, with an emphasis on creativity and innovation; and (3) to acquire a broad and deep knowledge of medicine and neurosurgery. We aim to train the future leaders in Neurosurgery.

The Stanford Neurosurgery Residency Program provides each resident with progressive surgical and patient management responsibility commensurate with his/her level of experience and core competencies. By the end of our training program, residents will be well versed in the theoretical aspects of neurosurgery, be fully trained in the bedside care of neurosurgical patients, be proficient technical neurosurgeons, and be able to design, execute, and critically evaluate neurosurgical clinical, translational, and basic research.

Support Services

Stanford Medicine has excellent support services for patient care, minimizing the need for residents to engage in patient care activities of limited educational value. The support of more than 24 full-time Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Nurse Coordinators affiliated with the Neurosurgery Service at SHC, LPCH, VAPAHCS, and SCVMC also considerably reduces the residents’ workload. The Resident Neurosurgery Team at SHC has its own Nurse Practitioner who assists ICU patient management. All the participating hospitals have blood drawing teams, blood gas technicians, patient transport services, etc. Each hospital has cafeteria and canteen services for residents on call. Residents are also provided a generous meal stipend for use on service at any time. Although on-campus housing is limited, housing is available in the nearby vicinity.


All Neurosurgery residents are required to attend the one hour weekly Neurosurgery Grand Rounds, the one hour weekly Neurology Grand Rounds, the two hour monthly Difficult Neurosurgical Case Conference, and the one hour monthly Neurosurgical Morbidity and Mortality Conference. All residents (except the Chief Resident) are required to attend weekly Resident Didactic Tutorial Sessions. Other specialized conferences are attended by residents as appropriate for their clinical rotations.