Adapted from ABNS.org

For Candidates That Will Begin Training On Or After July 1, 2013:

All post-graduate training described must be acquired as a resident in a neurological surgery training program or programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). It must be under the ultimate direction and control of the resident’s neurosurgery program director.

Complete eighty-four months (7 Years) of neurosurgical residency training in ACGME accredited programs under the direction of a neurosurgical program director. This must consist of:

Fifty-four months of clinical neurosurgery, including:

  • Twelve months as chief resident during the last two years of training (PGY-6 or 7)
  • Three months of basic neuroscience (e.g., neurology, neuro-otology, neuroradiology or neuropathology) taken in the first 18 months of training
  • Three months of critical care relevant to neurosurgery patients taken in the first 18 months of training
  • A minimum of six months of structured education in general patient care (e.g., trauma, general surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology or plastic surgery).
  • Twenty-one months must be spent in one program
  • Thirty months of electives in areas such as neuropathology, neuroradiology, research, additional neurosurgery or possibly in areas of special interest such as complex spine surgery, endovascular or pediatric neurosurgery or clinical and non-clinical neurosciences.
  • Six to 12 months in an outside rotation in an ACGME accredited program may be counted towards the core 54 months of neurosurgery training. The program director must request credit from the ABNS prior to the rotation.
  • Credit towards the 30 months of elective time may be requested by a program director for prior educational experiences, such as a PhD degree in a relevant subject, clinical rotations other than fellowships obtained at non-ACGME accredited programs, and neurosurgical training completed outside of the U.S., particularly if the resident is certified in that country. Written requests submitted by the program director to the ABNS must contain a complete description of the experience and justification of the request.
  • Pass the ABNS Primary Written Examination for credit, can be taken as self assessment yet must be passed for credit once during residency.
  • Submit a case log once in practice following residency/fellowship.  The current case log requirement is 125 consecutive cases submitted into a software program called ABNS POST.  ABNS POST stands for the "Practice and Outcomes of Surgical Therapies" and requires the uploading of operative details including pre and post-op images. 
  • Approval of all credentials by the ABNS Credentials Committee.  This includes, but is not limited to, review of all examination scores, training credentials, ABNS POST case log data, letters of reference, and malpractice history. 
  • Pass the Oral Examination; all three sections, one section is focused on cases from the case log submitted by the candidate. 

Additional Training Requirements:

All post-graduate training described must be acquired as a resident in a neurological surgery training program or programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). It must be under the ultimate direction and control of the resident’s neurosurgery program director.

Training of any type, including research, done in institutions outside of the parent program and its affiliated hospitals will not count toward meeting these requirements unless credit is requested in writing from the board prospectively by the program director and approved in writing. As of July 1, 2013, rotations of six to 12 months in other ACGME accredited neurosurgical programs may be granted clinical neurosurgery credit that will count toward the required 54 months; otherwise credit is elective only. The ABNS may also grant elective credit for training in non-ACGME accredited U.S or foreign centers on an individual basis when undertaken with the advice and approval of the program director. Approval for training periods of less than three months will not ordinarily be granted since they are of questionable educational value.

Training devoted to neuroscience education, critical care or other disciplines related to neurosurgery may also be acquired as a fulltime resident in ACGME accredited training programs (such as general and orthopedic surgery) that are in the same institution as the resident’s neurosurgery program. This training does not need the board’s approval if it remains under the ultimate direction and control of the resident’s neurosurgery program director.

Upon petition from a resident’s program director, the board may grant elective credit for training done before entering an accredited neurosurgery program if the resident has substantially more than the prerequisite training in general surgery, neurology or the basic neurological sciences at acceptable institutions. If the training results in a PhD in a neuroscience field, one year of elective credit will be given. Neurosurgery residency training completed abroad, particularly if it concludes with certification in that country, may also merit retroactive elective credit if the ABNS is petitioned by the program director. Credit is not automatic. It must be requested by the program director and approved in writing by the board.

Training by preceptorship does not fulfill these requirements. Additionally, no credit is given for training done by fellows or other individuals not enrolled as residents tracking toward certification in ACGME accredited neurosurgery programs. Resident training cannot be obtained during repeated short intervals in a number of institutions. These provisions do not alter the basic minimum requirements.

For more information regarding board eligibility requirements: click here