The Neurosurgery Training Program is seven years in length - 5 clinical years and 2 research-career development years. We admit 3 applicants per year. The PGY-1 year consists of 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, neruro-anesthesiology, stereotactic radiosurgery, and endovascular neurosurgery. The PGY-2 is spent as Junior Resident at the Stanford University Hospital and Clinics, During the PGY-3 year, the resident leads the neurosurgery service for four months each at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital and the Palo Alto VA Hospital. 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 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 University Hospital.   

Stanford’s Neurosurgery Training Program benefits from the teaching of 16 full time faculty members. Each of the four hospitals - Stanford University Medical Center (SUMC), Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (LPCH), Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital (PAVAH), and Santa Clara Valley County Medical Center (SCVMC) has full-time faculty members supportive of  the training program . Over 4000 neurosurgical operations covering the full spectrum of neurosurgical problems are performed annually.

Stanford Neurosurgery Residents

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, and creativity and innovation; and (3) to inform a broad and deep knowledge of medicine and 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 and basic research.

Program Goals and Philosophy

The training goals of the Neurosurgery Residency Program at Stanford include the acquisition of clinical skills in Neurosurgery and a deep commitment to academic and research pursuits. Development of clinical skills includes accurate and concise diagnosis, proficient surgical techniques, excellent patient management, personal maturity, a humanistic approach to patients, and possession of adequate fund of medical and neurosurgical knowledge. Development of academic skills includes ability to perform and evaluate clinical and basic research, facility in writing and public speaking, and an emphasis on creativity and innovation.

Support Services

Stanford University Medical Center 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 12 full-time nurse practitioners and nurse coordinators affiliated with the Neurosurgery Service at SUMC, LPCH, PAVA, and SCVMC also considerably reduces the residentsí workload. The Resident Neurosurgery Team at SUMC has its own Nurse Practitioner who answers calls from the ED, ward and consult services. Both SUMC and LSPCH have blood drawing teams, blood gas technicians, patient transport services, etc., to perform the tasks which do not require the skills of a physician. Nurses routinely start IVís. These services are also available at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital. 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 combined Neurology- Neurosurgery- Neuroradiology- Neuropathology Clinical Case Conference, 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 the 2 1/2 hour weekly Resident Didactic Tutorial Sessions. Other conferences are attended by residents as appropriate for their clinical rotations.

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