Neurosurgery Residency Program
The Medical University of South Carolina
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 13,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 faculty members in six colleges (Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy). As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $2.2 billion. MUSC Health operates a 700-bed medical center, which includes the only nationally recognized Children's Hospital in the state, the Center for Telehealth, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), Hollings Cancer Center (a National Cancer Institute-designated center), Level I Trauma Center, Institute of Psychiatry, and the state’s only transplant center. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the number one hospital in South Carolina.
Neurosurgery Residency Program
The Department of Neurosurgery at MUSC was founded in 1963 as a division of general surgery. Since its establishment, it has been transformed according to the changing needs for patient care, education and research. The division achieved separate departmental status in 1977 and Dr. Phanor Perot was appointed as the founding chairman. There is evidence that some neurosurgical procedures were performed at MUSC as early as the nineteenth century, even before the development of specialized neurosurgical services. The theses of the graduating students from 1834 (when a hand-carved wooden model of the brain was used to teach courses in neuroanatomy) make note of procedures performed for relief of intracranial pressure from hydrocephalus and penetrating trauma.
The MUSC Neurosurgery residency program was established in 1964 by its first formally trained neurosurgeon, Dr. Julian Youmans, and was later approved by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) that same year. Dr. Russell Travis was the first resident to join the department on July 1, 1964.
The residency program is now a seven-year program that is approved for two PGY1 neurosurgery positions annually. The program also provides an intensive clinical experience for residents from general surgery, neurology, orthopaedics, oral surgery and other services. These physicians may spend one to three months on the service where they will acquire skills in diverse areas of neurosurgery. Closely supervised by the faculty, they expand the number and availability of specialized physicians for patient care 24 hours a day.
Sunil Patel, M.D.
Alejandro Spiotta, M.D.
Stephen Kalhorn, M.D.
Associate Program Director
Residency Program Coordinator
PGY-1: The internship is supervised by the Department of Neurosurgery. Approximately half of the year is devoted to various surgical rotations with neurosurgery, neurointerventional surgery and trauma surgery. The remaining time will be devoted to elective rotations in neuroradiology, neuro critical care, neuropathology, neuro-opthomology and three months of neurology (mandatory).
PGY-2 through PGY-4: During these years, the resident obtains a comprehensive introduction to clinical neurosurgery and related disciplines at the Medical University Hospital, the MUSC Children’s Hospital, and the VA Hospital. The resident will have a broad exposure to all facets of neurosurgical care in the inpatient and outpatient settings. The resident will gain progressively increasing clinical responsibilities in the operating room, the hospital and the outpatient settings. There is also a progressive increase in the teaching responsibilities for medical students and other residents.
PGY-5: The fifth year resident serves as the junior chief resident at the Medical University Hospital and the MUSC Children’s Hospital. The large clinical service at these hospitals is divided between the two chief residents. During the year, the resident will rotate between the services at regular intervals. The resident will be involved in all levels of inpatient and outpatient clinical care, with increasing responsibility based on the individual’s experience and ability.
PGY-6: The sixth year is devoted to research, with a broad range of basic and clinical science projects available through the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery and throughout the MUSC Medical Center. Neurosurgery integration within the department facilitates collaborations with basic science researchers in numerous areas of study. Guidance and mentoring are provided to optimize the individual resident’s experience.
PGY-7: The seventh year resident serves are the senior chief resident at the Medical University Hospital and the MUSC Children’s Hospital. The large clinical service at these hospitals is divided between the two chief residents. During the year, the resident will rotate between the services at regular intervals. The resident will be involved in all levels of inpatient and outpatient clinical care, with increasing responsibility based on the individual’s experience and ability. In addition, the senior resident will have additional administrative duties including: the organization of clinical neurosurgery conferences, call schedules, etc.
Block Schedule 2016-2017
The MUSC Neurosurgery Residency Program has the following distinctions:
Vast clinical operative experience:
We perform over three thousand neurosurgical procedures every year at MUSC and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center operating facilities. The endovascular program at MUSC is among the busiest in the southeast with close to one thousand procedures annually. The disease pathology and operative experience spans the full spectrum of neurosurgical subspecialties: cerebrovascular (open and endovascular), tumor (surgical and radiosurgery), functional & epilepsy, trauma, peripheral nerve and spine surgery. The daily census on the neurosurgery service runs between fifty to seventy patients.
Excellent research opportunities:
MUSC neurosurgery faculty are involved with investigations on a variety of neurosurgical disorders. Faculty members also regularly publish original research reports, and edit and author chapters in textbooks that are used as references by neurosurgeons throughout the world. We are currently participating in several randomized controlled trials (Mistie III, Compass, C-III, Neuro-Oncology, Spine trials and TBI). Besides the collaboration with the Division of Research, the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery provide excellent opportunities for bench research including the Clemson-MUSC Bioengineering program. The Department of Neurosciences ranks among the top in NIH funding nationally.
The operative experience at the MUSC Neurosurgery Residency Program includes all the major sub-specialties of neurosurgery including tumor surgery, cerebrovascular surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, functional neurosurgery, stereotactic neurosurgery, peripheral nerve, and spine surgery. Annually, we perform more than 9,000 cases, including around 1,500 cases in our endovascular suite. We perform approximately 135 peripheral nerve cases every year. Since acquiring the Perfexion gamma knife in 2010 we perform, on average, around 200 cases annually.