Department of Neurological Surgery

Training at Vanderbilt

Residency Length and Rotations
The Vanderbilt Residency Training Program in Neurological Surgery accepts three new residents each year. Length of training is for seven years (including internship) and occurs at the three Vanderbilt University-affiliated hospitals: Vanderbilt University Hospital, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital and the Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center. All three are adjacent to each other on the same campus. PGY-1 residents rotate for four months on Neurosurgery, three months on Neurology, two months on Neurointensive Care, one month on Trauma, one month on Emergency Medicine, and one month on General Surgery. Each PGY-2 resident spends four months on each of the Vanderbilt Adult Services of Spine, Tumor, and Vascular/Functional. The PGY-3 year is spent with four months on the Pediatric Neurosurgery Service at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, four months at the Veterans Administration Hospital, and four months floating on the VUMC rotation. The PGY-4 and PGY-5 years of the residency are individually tailored to meet the needs of each resident. This time may be spent doing basic or clinical research. Further clinical training rotations or “Infolded Fellowships”, in an area of interest to the resident, may also be arranged during this period. Upon returning to the clinical service the PGY-6 and PGY-7 residents rotate on the three Vanderbilt Adult Services as Senior and Chief residents, respectively.
Both basic and clinical research are integral activities of the Department and there are many resources on the medical center and university campus from which the residents can draw to design their research experience. Research space of the Department includes fully equipped laboratories with laminar flow and cold rooms, world class laser application laboratories, and anatomy microdissection laboratories. Basic ongoing research projects in Neurosurgery involve proteomics, experimental protocols on glial cell cultures, free-electron laser applications to Neurosurgery, gene sequencing involving neuropeptide and growth factor pharmacology, and toxicity of amniotic fluid in the products of myelomeningoceles. Current clinical research projects are focused on projects such as intraoperative brain mapping, advanced developments in interactive image-guided stereotactic surgery, changes in excitability of deep brain nuclei to implanted stimulators, innovative surgical approaches to epilepsy, comparative effectiveness research for patients undergoing spinal surgery, and several pediatric projects involving birth defects and hydrocephalus such as the application of intrauterine intervention to spina bifida. Each resident is expected to participate in and complete at least one clinical research project during his or her residency. Departmental support is given to residents to attend local and national meetings to present their scientific work.
Conference Schedule
Teaching rounds with staff, intensive care unit rounds and neuroradiology conference.
Tuesday: Journal Club
Friday: Neurosurgery Core Competencies Conference with case/scientific presentations, Morbidity, Mortality and Improvement Conference, and periodic visiting professors and guest speakers.
Other weekly conferences include Neuro-oncology, Neurovascular, Epilepsy and Movement Disorder Seminars.
Combined Neurosciences Conference (Neurosurgery, Neurology, Neuroradiology, and Neuropathology).
Comprehensive Spine Center teaching conference.
Board Examination Requirements
A passing score on the Primary Written Examination given by the American Board of Neurological Surgery is required before beginning the chief resident year.
Special Features
The surgical training experience is excellent. There is an unusually broad clinical experience provided by a university hospital with specialized faculty and complex cases, and a typical Veterans Administration Hospital practice. With the addition of the active research opportunities listed above, the superb clinical and intellectual climate allows each individual resident to become skillful in patient care, to develop surgical prowess, and to achieve academic excellence. One of the many strengths of this program is that it is designed with sufficient flexibility to accentuate the particular talents and interests of the individual residents, in order to help them reach their fullest potential as practicing neurosurgeons.
For further information:
Pamela Lane
Residency Program Coordinator
Phone: (615) 343-2452
Department of Neurological Surgery
T-4224 Medical Center North
1161 21st Avenue South 

Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, TN 37232-2380


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