Resident training in neurosurgical oncology: results of the survey of North American training programs by the AANS/CNS Section on Tumors

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The AANS/CNS Section on Tumors is involved in the education of practitioners managing patients with tumors involving the nervous system. We report the results of a survey commissioned by this body to investigate how neurosurgical residents are trained in the neurosurgical oncology subspecialty.


One hundred six North American training centers were anonymously surveyed regarding faculty background; resident rotations, research opportunities, and caseload; and post-graduate neuro-oncology-related activities. Additionally, the AANS membership database was searched to quantify self-identified neuro-oncologists.


Forty-four of 106 (41.5%) programs responded to the survey. Over 90% of responding programs have a faculty member specializing in neurosurgical oncology. Neurosurgical oncology fellowships or dedicated neuro-oncology resident rotation were found only in a small number of programs. Most residency programs support resident research, including exposure to brain tumor clinical trials. Twenty-nine (66%) programs reported their residents are exposed to >100 surgical cases of primary brain tumors. Twenty (46%) programs reported their residents are exposed to <50 skull base tumors. Thirty (70%) programs reported their resident would be exposed to <50 spine and peripheral nerve tumor cases. Half of the responding programs indicated that graduates of their programs had taken faculty positions focusing on neurosurgical oncology. Fifty-two members of the tumor section are in leadership positions for their given residency programs.


Neuro-surgical oncology training appears to be strong at the programs that responded to our survey. However, resident training in neurosurgical oncology can be improved and residents with interests in this subspecialty need support to further this field.

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