Neurosurgical Review

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 409–417 | Cite as

Neurosurgical education in Europe and the United States of America

  • Jan-Karl Burkhardt
  • Pascal O. Zinn
  • Oliver Bozinov
  • Rivka R. Colen
  • Helmut Bertalanffy
  • Ekkehard M. Kasper


Training in neurological surgery is one of the most competitive and demanding specializations in medicine. It therefore demands careful planning in both the scientific and clinical neurosurgery arena to finally turn out physicians that can be clinically sound and scientifically competitive. National and international training and career options are pointed out, based on the available relevant literature, with the objective of comparing the neurosurgical training in Europe and the USA. Despite clear European Association of Neurosurgical Societies guidelines, every country in Europe maintains its own board requirements, which is reflected in an institutional curriculum that is specific to the professional society of that particular country. In contrast, the residency program in the USA is required to comply with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education guidelines. Rather similar guidelines exist for the education of neurosurgical residents in the USA and Europe; their translation into the practical hospital setting and the resulting clinical lifestyle of a resident diverges enormously. Since neurosurgical education remains heterogeneous worldwide, we argue that a more standardized curriculum across different nations would greatly facilitate the interaction of different centers, allow a direct comparison of available services, and support the exchange of vital information for quality control and future improvements. Furthermore, the exchange of residents between different training centers may improve education by increasing their knowledge base, both technically as well as intellectually.


Neurosurgery Education Residency Curriculum United States Europe 



Dr. Pascal O. Zinn is recipient of a scholarship by the Swiss National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan-Karl Burkhardt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pascal O. Zinn
    • 3
    • 5
  • Oliver Bozinov
    • 1
  • Rivka R. Colen
    • 4
  • Helmut Bertalanffy
    • 1
  • Ekkehard M. Kasper
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity Hospital, University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Regenerative Medicine Program, Department of Surgical ResearchUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Neurosurgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Genomic Stability and DNA Repair, Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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