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Neurosurgery. University of Tennessee Health Science Center Student Interest Group in Neurosurgery. Surgical subspecialty that deals with disorders of the brain, spine, and peripheral nerves Neurosurgery is a very young field relative to others (Founded in the early 1900’s)

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University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Student Interest Group in Neurosurgery

what is neurosurgery

Surgical subspecialty that deals with disorders of the brain, spine, and peripheral nerves

  • Neurosurgery is a very young field relative to others (Founded in the early 1900’s)
  • Lots of high-end technology, very non-forgiving at times, very rewarding at times, espirit de corps
  • Small field (95 training programs, 1120 academic neurosurgeons in U.S.A.)
What is neurosurgery?
the path to neurosurgery

Attend college, enter medical school

  • After medical school (4 years) and obtaining a M.D. attend a 7 year residency program to be a trained as a neurosurgeon
The path to Neurosurgery
why neurosurgery

Reasons why I chose this field:

    • Interest in Anatomy
    • Interest in Technology
    • Interest in how the CNS works
    • Interest in working with hands/surgery
    • Small field with lots of possibilities for change
Why Neurosurgery?
neurosurgery @ ut


    • Very historic group, original faculty trained under Harvey Cushing
    • Very clinically heavy program
    • Covers 5 hospitals (Methodist, VA, Med, Baptist, Le Bonheur)
    • One of the premier training programs in the southeast
Neurosurgery @ UT
med students years 1 2

Boards + Research

  • Showing interest in your home program
  • Polishing your interest in the specialty, answering your own questions about is this right for you
Med Students Years 1-2
med students years 3 4

Research, Clinicals, Away rotations and home rotation in Neurosurgery

  • Typically 1 home rotation, 2 aways some do 1 home 1 away, others do 3 aways
  • Always good to have your home program on your side even if you don’t stay (other programs call your chair to ask about you)
  • Plan for $5-10,000 of extra expense in 4th year (Step 2 + aways + interviews + trips)
Med Students Years 3-4
choosing aways

Where do you want to live?

  • Cost of living?
  • Family?
  • Program, operative experience, research experience, reputation
  • Chances of you matching at an away
  • Apply early via VSAS!!!!!! (March-April-May of 3rd year)
Choosing Aways
programs i recommend


    • If you are heavy into research UVA if you are not you may not have a great chance to match there
    • Emory – Solid Program, good group
    • Miami – Solid Program, good group
    • Vandy– Solid program, not as much open vascular than Memphis, lacking in some areas—good city, good research, connection to JHU
    • UAB- good research program, well known faculty
    • Of course UT (but this is your home SubI and everyone should do that)
  • Northeast
    • MGH, Penn, JHU, Columbia
      • Better have solid scores, letters, and lots of research or you are wasting your month rotating there
    • Pitt, NYU
      • Good operative programs, would recommend these if you want to move to the northeast
  • Southwest
    • Barrow, FANTASTIC ROTATION, you get to do tons, overall a great program and great rotation setup
    • USC, heard good things about this place
  • Northwest/Midwest
    • Mayo-great program if you like MN and the cold
    • SF---not for the faint of heart!
    • UW– great program!!
    • Cleveland Clinic
Programs I recommend
how i would recommend choosing aways

If you have great scores, research

    • Choose 2 places you would want to match (don’t go to a safety)
  • If you don’t have great scores, research I recommend choosing 1 program you’d love to go to, and another that is in the middle
    • Most people match at SubI’s or home institutions
    • Get good letters!
How I would recommend choosing aways
subi s

Work hard

  • First to be there, last to leave
  • Always on best behavior can’t have bad days– this is a month long interview
  • Friendly , amiable, hang out with residents after hours get to know everyone
  • Never, ever try to show arrogance, or show someone else up (be nice to other rotators, they will be your colleagues!)
  • You can hurt yourself more than you can help yourself often when doing SubI’s (keep that in mind)

Tier 1: (harder to get interviews from)

    • Barrow, JHU, Columbia, MGH, Cleveland Clinic, Penn, UCSF, Mayo, Emory, WashU, UT!!
  • Tier 2:
    • NYU, Pitt, Uwash, USC, UTSW, Baylor, Miami, UCLA, UAB, Vanderbilt, Yale, Dartmouth, Utah, Cornell, Northwestern
  • Tier 3: (easy to get interviews from)
    • Everywhere else

How many?

  • Depends on you, how competitive you feel you are and your anxiety level
  • If your super competitive apply to 20, do 10 interviews
  • If your not as competitive apply to more and take what is given then cancel as you go to the ones that overlap

Be prepared!!!, ANYTHING on your CV is fair game, have a standard answer for why nsgy, why medicine, etc. what you want to do with your career and so on

  • Most interviews happen in Nov/Dec/January
  • You will get interview invites in October to early November
  • Be quick to respond, most are on a rolling basis with wait lists!
  • Have fun!!!! Make sure to stay well hydrated from all the boozing! Make friends!
  • LEARN , this is the only chance you may have to meet some of the greats in this field one on one with their undivided attention

Gut feel

  • Pros Cons
  • Case Load
  • Location
  • Stability, chairmen
  • Covers all specialties
  • Camaraderie
  • Resources, Benefits
  • Placement of previous graduates
  • Commitment and personality of program director & Chair
post ranking


  • Let your top programs know you’ll be ranking them highly, stay in touch
  • What’s a real job?
  • Moving in out etc.
  • Have fun the remainder of 4th year!!!!
Post Ranking