AHN Neurosurgery Residency Program

Medical Students

If you're a medical student interested in our Neurosurgery Medical Student Program, please click here for more information.

AHN Neurosurgery Residency Program description

Welcome to the AHN Neurosurgery Residency website!

As a resident at AHN, you will be exposed to a wide variety of learning opportunities during your residency including clinical and didactic instruction as well as surgical exposure and training. A core group of faculty, fellowship trained
in specialty areas of neurosurgery who are genuinely interested and engaged in
teaching, will instruct and guide you as you develop and strengthen your clinical acumen in a collegial fashion while building and enhancing your surgical techniques. By the end of your residency, you will have established a strong and solid foundation of neurosurgery through which you will be readily prepared to practice neurosurgery - competently and independently.

An organized faculty and resident driven curriculum highlights information essential in caring for neurosurgical patients as well as for passing the ABNS Primary Examination. The AHN Written Board Review Series and the Myers Board Preparatory Sessions provide a structured approach to studying high yield material. The curriculum, inspired by the ACGME core competencies, focuses also on practical physician development topics including professionalism, ethics, diversity, and socioeconomics. The AHN Neurosurgical Resident Research Council will teach you the key concepts and principles of research though one-on-one meetings with scientists and core faculty. Lecture series and workshops and will help you develop your personal research interests early in your training and provide you with the tools and foundation to be productive and enable you to meet your personal research goals. As your fundamental knowledge of neurosurgery deepens, your surgical skills will be augmented via a curriculum focused cadaveric dissection BIOSKILLS laboratory sessions as well as
opportunities for independent cadaveric dissection in our Center for the Surgical Arts. A myriad of AHN sponsored courses are also available to supplant your education as well as build your personal network of connections with surgical colleagues nationally and internationally.

You will be introduced to the field of neurosurgery as a PGY 1 through a “buddy system” where you will be exposed to the duties of a neurosurgical resident under the direct supervision of a senior resident for all aspects of patient care including bedside procedures and call.  During this first year, you will also be introduced to other surgical subspecialties to teach you basic surgical techniques, critical care, and patient management skills to develop your clinical acumen. By PGY 2, you will be able to function independently in taking care of neurosurgical floor and ICU patients under the supervision of senior residents and faculty. During PGY 3, you will be exposed to various neurosurgical specialties as well as electives pertinent to neurosurgery. PGY 4 and 5 are surgically concentrated.  During PGY 5, you will rotate through Forbes Regional Hospital, part of the AHN system, which will prepare you for your ensuing role as Chief Resident as a sixth year resident. During PGY 7, you may elect to complete an enfolded CAST fellowship, an elective fellowship, a focused research year, or a “transition to practice” year.

Policies and procedures to which residents must adhere to include those of the AHN Department of Neurosurgery and those of the AHN Graduate Medical Education (GME) Office.

For more information, please explore the information on this site. We sincerely thank you for your interest in the AHN Neurosurgery Residency program.

Image of the neurosurgery residents

AHN Neurosurgery Residency Program year and rotations

See below for breakdown of individual rotations as they occur by each post-graduate year. A brief description of the rotations follow PGY listings.


  • Plastic Surgery - 1 month
  • Trauma ICU - 1 month
  • Emergency Department - 1 month
  • Neurology - 2 months
  • Introduction to Neuro-Critical Care - 1 month
  • Neurosurgery - 6 months


  • Neurosurgery/Neuro-Critical Care - 12 months


  • Pediatric Neurosurgery - 4 months
  • Endovascular Neurosurgery – 4 months
  • Neurosurgical Electives – 2 months
    • Neuroradiology
    • Stereotactic Radiosurgery
    • Neuropathology 
  • Neurosurgery - 2 months


  • Neurosurgery - 12 months


  • Forbes Neurosurgery – 6 months
  • Neurosurgery – 6 months

PGY 6 

  • Chief Year

PGY 7 (one of the following)

  • Elective Year
    • Research
    • Enfolded CAST Fellowship
    • Elective Fellowship
    • Transition to Practice

Emergency Medicine (EM)

The goal of this rotation is to become familiar with the initial assessment and management of patients in the acute setting. This rotation is helpful in not only basic clinical knowledge but also will aid in preparing for the USMLE - Step 3 Examination.

Endovascular Neurosurgery

This rotation is a 4 month, protected rotation, on the neuro-endovascular service, during which the resident will perform all neuro-endovascular procedures, learn to manage variety of vascular pathologies, and take stroke call.

Forbes Neurosurgery

For 6 months during PGY 5, resident will act as a junior attending at Forbes Regional Hospital, a level 2 trauma center part of the AHN system. The operative experience of the rotation focuses on complex spine and adult deformity as well as general neurosurgery. 


During PGY 1, the neurosurgery resident will spend 2 months on the neurology service, including the Comprehensive Epilepsy and Comprehensive Stroke services; attend all neurosciences didactic conferences, including subspecialty program conferences. Goals and objectives for this rotation are for the resident to be provided with the opportunity to learn all aspects of evaluating, diagnosing and managing of patients with neurologic diseases.


Goals and objectives of this rotation are that the resident understands the basic pathological features and pathological processes of common disorders of the nervous system. This training will help the trainee to pass the board exam and to offer better patient care by understanding neuropathology.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Goals and objectives are for the resident to acquire requisite background information to understand the indications for and the various techniques used to perform radiosurgery, as well as directly aiding in planning and execution of stereotactic radiosurgery.


Goals and objectives for this rotation are that the resident will become thoroughly familiar with all aspects of neuroradiology, including myelography/CT, angiography/CT, MRI, and neurointerventional procedures.

Pediatric Neurosurgery

During PGY 3, the neurosurgery resident will rotate 4 months at UPMC Children’s Hospital; attend all required pediatric conferences; take call as scheduled by the pediatric chief resident; and participate in outpatient clinics and inpatient consultations.

Goals and objectives of the rotation are to provide an educational pediatric neurosurgery experience in patient care activities. The resident will gain knowledge in the anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and presentation of diseases in children that a neurosurgeon may be called upon to diagnose and treat.

Plastic Surgery (PS)

The primary function of this rotation is to learn management of complex wounds and proper surgical techniques. The rotation consists of heavy operative days as well as management of plastic surgery consult and floor patients.

Trauma ICU (TICU)

The goals and objectives of the Trauma ICU rotation are to learn comprehensive management of trauma patients, including coordinating care of patients with head and neck, chest, abdomen, and extremity injuries and treatment plans for severe soft tissue and pulmonary infections, respiratory failure, hemodynamic instability, renal failure and major bleeding.

Introduction to Neuro-Critical Care

During the PGY 1 year, the neurosurgical residents will be scheduled for an initial “Intro to Neuro-Critical Care” rotation in the Neuro ICU. This rotation will be an initial exposure to the basic foundations necessary for management of the critically ill patients in the NICU setting including the basic principles of critical care medicine, neurology, neuroanatomy, neurosurgery, and neuro-interventional radiology with direct supervision available at all times.

AHN Neurosurgery Residency Program block rotation schedule

AHN Neurosurgical Residency Program academic monthly calendar

Academic Week

Tuesday Mornings - 6:30am - 8:00am
Wednesday Mornings - 6:45am - Noon


Tuesday Mornings

1st Tuesday

  • NSG Resident Research Council (6:30am - 8:30am)

2nd Tuesday

  • Compliance / Well Being (6:30am - 8:30am)

3rd Tuesday

  • Written Board Review Series (7:00am - 8:00am)

4th Tuesday

  • Written Board Review Series (7:00am - 8:00am)

Wednesday Mornings

Every Wednesday

  • NSG Internal Conference (6:45am - 7:20am)
  • Neuroscience Institute Grand Rounds (7:30am - 8:30am)                  
  • Myers Board Prep (8:30am - 9:30am)          

1st Wednesday

  • Neurosurgical Lecture Series (9:30am - 10:30am)
  • Neurosurgical In-services (10:30am - Noon)

2nd Wednesday

3rd Wednesday

  • Neurosurgical Lecture Series (9:30am - 11:30am)

4th Wednesday

5th Wednesday

  • Neurosurgical Lecture Series (9:30am - 10:30am)
  • Neurosurgical In-services (10:30am - Noon)

Example Neuroscience Conference Schedule

Attached is an example of the Neuroscience Conference Schedule.

AHN Neurosurgical Residency Program curriculum highlights

  • BIOSKILLS Laboratory Sessions
  • Myers Board Prep
  • Written Board Review Mini Series




Laboratory Sessions

At AHN, we have access to a premier cadaveric facility, Center for the Surgical Arts, available for personal education as well as a part of the structured curriculum. Twice a month, residents will have protected laboratory time for a focused study in one of the many cranial or spinal surgical approaches. These sessions are proceeded by a lecture prepared by a resident and are supervised by faculty members.  Each lecture includes the following:

  • Brief case presentation with imaging
  • Specific indications for the procedure
  • Anatomy associated with the approach
  • Surgical approach
  • Alternative approaches and treatments
  • Common pitfalls and pearls
  • Outcomes associated with the approach (1-2 articles briefly presented/reviewed)

Following the presentation, the group then proceeds to the laboratory where they perform the approach with the assistance of faculty members. Various operative equipment such as surgical robots, CT navigation, intracranial endoscopes, an fluoroscopy are available during these sessions to simulate the actual operative experience. Residents are often exposed to innovative technology on trial during these sessions as well.




July - Fiber Dissection

August - Burrholes/ Trauma Flap / Simple Pterional (Intrafascial and Subfascial Dissection)

September - Approach to the 3rd Ventricle; Interhemispheric Transcallosal & Transchoroidal Approach

October - EC-IC Bypass On Live Rats

November - Middle Fossa Approach

December - Translabyrinthine Craniotomy  

January - Retrosigmoid / Cranial Nerve Decompression / Far Lateral Approach

February - Suboccipital Craniotomy / Telovelar Approach to Fourth Ventricle

March - Approach to Pineal Region  (Interhemispheric Transtentorial; Infratentorial Supracerebellar; Posterior Transcallosal)

April - Subtemporal/ Dolenc Approach to Cavernous Sinus

May - The Fronto-Temporal-Orbito-Zygomatic Approach / Anterior Clinoidectomy




- Posterior Cervical Laminectomy / Cervical Decompression and Fusion (including T1 and T2 Pedicle Screws)

August - Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion / Cervical Artificial Disc / Cervical Corpectomy

September - Lumbar Microdiscectomy and Laminectomy

October - Open Lumbar Pedicle Screw Placement and Instrumentation (PLIF, TLIF) including S2 Screws

November - Peripheral Nerve (Brachial Plexus, Carpal Tunnel, Ulnar Nerve Decompression)

December - Sacroiliac Joint Fusion

January - Robotic/ Navigation Assisted Percutaneous Thoracolumbar Instrumentation; Transpedicular Discectomy

February - Deformity Correction (Smith-Peterson Osteotomy, Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomy, Vertebral Column Resection)

March - Anterior/ Oblique/ Lateral Thoracolumbar Fusion

April - Minimally Invasive/ Tubular Approach to Cervical and Lumbar Pathologies (including Far Lateral Approach)

May - Posterior C1 and C2 Fixation (C1 Lateral Mass, C2 Laminar, C2 pars, Transarticular); Occipito-Cervical Fixation


Myers Board Prep

Myers Board Prep is a resident organized and driven board preparatory course occurring on a weekly basis throughout the entire academic year geared to residents taking the Written Board Examination. The residents are assigned topics at the beginning of the year. The curriculum is organized at the beginning of each academic year and is integrated with the BIOSKILLS laboratory sessions schedule to facilitate comprehensive understanding of the basic neurosciences applied to related surgical approaches.


Daniel Myers, MD

“At the start of residency, preparing for and passing the Neurosurgery Written Boards can be a daunting if not overwhelming task. We have revamped our entire approach to written boards over the last few years to try and minimize the stress of preparing for boards, and to maximize its benefit to us as clinicians.  As a group, the residents who still need to pass written boards focus on a board exam topic that is of clinical utility every week. 
As we move through the year, the idea is not to only improve our knowledge base, but to deescalate the stress surrounding the written boards. So far this has been extremely successful in terms of our education, stress level, and the board scores!”

-Daniel Myers, MD

Written Board Review Mini Series

The Written Board Review Mini-Series is a lecture series focused on providing resident education in the form of high yield board relevant topics. Residents determine the topics of interest, and invite faculty, who based on their areas of expertise, provide insight into clinical and board relevant points. The mini-series occurs every 3rd and 4th Tuesday from 7-8am.

Topics include:

  • Pediatric tumors
  • Neuroanesthesia
  • Neuroradiology
  • Skull base
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Vascular + spinal angiograms

About Graduate Medical Education

The Neurosurgery Residency program is part of the Graduate Medical Education (GME) opportunities offered by the AHN Medical Education Consortium. Learn more about Graduate Medical Education.

Contact us

Deborah Musico
Program Coordinator

Mailing address:

Allegheny General Hospital   
420 E North Avenue, Suite 302
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Phone: (412) 359-3575