Neurosurgery is the surgical specialty that treats patients with disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system. About 70% of patients treated by neurosurgeons have diseases of the spine or spinal cord. The remainder have problems with the brain and peripheral nervous system.

There are about 3,200 practicing neurosurgeons in the United States of which 700 are in teaching centers. Technical aspects of the specialty cover a broad spectrum from microsurgical techniques, particularly for aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations and brain tumors, to extensive reconstruction of the spine. Neurosurgery became a surgical specialty in the early 1900’s. Current frontiers in neurosurgery include treatment for brain tumors, movement disorders, endovascular treatment of cerebral aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations, nerve and spinal cord regeneration, and neuroprotection therapy for head injury and stroke.

Residency Training

  • Duration of training: Seven years.
  • Number of programs nationally: 105
  • Number of entering residency positions per year: 160+.
  • Types of fellowships or subspecialties: Spine, Neuro-Oncology, Functional Neurosurgery; Epilepsy, Pediatrics, Cerebrovascular
    (both Open and Endovascular), Skull Base Neurosurgery, Peripheral Nerve, Neurocritical Care
  • Type of Match: Regular Match.
  • Overall competitiveness: Very Competitive. A difficult match for the "average" student.

Primary Faculty Contact for M1's and M2's

Jason Heth, M.D.

Medical Student Club or Interest Group

American Association of Neurological Surgeons University of Michigan Medical Student Chapter

Contact: Annie Li, President,

Shadowing or Mentoring Experiences Available to M1's or M2's

Contact: Jason Heth, M.D. at 734-936-5017 or


Suggested Journals, Books & Information for Interested Students

  • The Book of Neurosurgery by Greenburg
  • Journal of Neurosurgery
  • Neurosurgery