NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY Constitutes a medical discipline and surgical specialty that provides care for adult and pediatric patients in the treatment of pain or pathological processes that may modify the function or activity of the central nervous system (e.g. brain, hypophysis, and spinal cord), the peripheral nervous system (e.g. cranial, spinal, and peripheral nerves), the autonomic nervous system, the supporting structures of these systems (e.g. meninges, skull & skull base, and vertebral column), and their vascular supply (e.g. intracranial, extracranial, and spinal vasculature).
Treatment encompasses both non-operative management (e.g. prevention, diagnosis – including image interpretation – and treatments such as, but not limited to. neurocritical intensive care and rehabilitation) and operative management with its associated image use and interpretation (e.g. endovascular surgery, functional and restorative surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery, and spinal fusion including its instrumentation.
The broad aim of the AMERICAN
BOARD OF NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY is to encourage the study, improve the practice, elevate the standards, and advance the science of neurological surgery, and thereby to serve the cause of public health.
A neurosurgeon who has been certified by the AMERICAN
BOARD OF NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY (ABNS) has completed an approved educational training program and an evaluation process, including written and oral examinations, designed to asses the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to provide quality patient care in neurological surgery. Neurosurgeons who successfully participate in the ABNS Maintenance of Certification program take steps following their primary certification to preserve and enhance their knowledge and skills. However, certification is not a measure or guarantee of competence, nor does it necessarily indicate compatibility with a particular patient. Patients, therefore, should consider certification as only one factor in selecting a neurological surgeon.
Recognizing the need for detailed training and special qualifications for the practice of neurosurgery, representatives from The Society of Neurological Surgeons and the Harvey Cushing Society [now the American Association of Neurological Surgeons AANS)] held an informal gathering on March 27, 1939 to discuss the concept of a board. Those in attendance were Drs. Alfred W. Adson, Paul C. Bucy, Winchell McK. Craig, Loyal Davis, Howard C. Naffziger, Eric Oldberg, Max M. Peet, and R. Glen Spurling. This group was later enlarged to include representatives from the Section on Nervous and Mental Diseases and the Section on Surgery of the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Neurological Association, and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). On November 19, 1939 the first preliminary meeting was held at the Palmer House in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to the above, Drs. Leo M. Davidoff, Temple Fay, Tracy J. Putnam, and Ernest Sachs were included. Dr. Howard C. Naffziger was elected Chairman, Dr. Alfred W. Adson Vice-Chairman, and Dr. R. Glen Spurling Secretary/Treasurer. A second preliminary meeting of the same group, with the addition of Dr. Byron Stookey, was held on April 28, 1940 at the Park Plaza in St. Louis, Missouri. The group unanimously decided that a separate board should be formed for certification in neurological surgery, and guidelines were established to grandfather neurosurgeons who could be certified without examination.
The American Board of Neurological Surgery was approved as a new examining Board in medical specialties in 1940 by action of the Advisory Board for Medical Specialties [reorganized in 1970 as the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)] in collaboration with the AMA Council on Medical Education. On August 15, 1940 the ABNS was incorporated. N. B. Burdete, N. C. Evans, and W. W. Downing served as signatories. Directors of the corporation were designated as those individuals in attendance at the second preliminary meeting.
The first official meeting of the ABNS was held in Chicago on October 17, 1940. Twenty-four candidates for certification were examined. The 100th official meeting was held September 23 to 26, 1986, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 50th anniversary meeting was held in Boston, Massachusetts, May 15 to 18, 1990, at which time the 3672nd Diplomate was certified.
Purposes and Objectives
The primary purposes of the American Board of Neurological Surgery are to conduct examinations of candidates who voluntarily seek certification, and to issue Certificates to those who meet the requirements of the Board and satisfactorily complete its examinations. Certification by the ABNS is based on review and evaluation of the applicant's educational, training, and practice qualifications, as well as successful completion of written and oral examinations. In addition, the Board, along with the Residency Review Committee for Neurological Surgery (RRC) and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), works to improving the standards of training in neurosurgical residency programs throughout the United States.
ABNS operations that flow directly from these primary purposes include:
- Define requirements for training in neurological surgery
- Develop and administer the Primary Examination
- Evaluate the credentials of candidates for certification, including professional practice
- Develop and administer the oral examination
- Issue certificates
- Define the requirements for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) in neurological surgery
- Develop and administer the Cognitive Examination
- Track Diplomates' progress through MOC
A certificate, once granted, is verification of the completion of educational, peer review, and examination processes. The Board certifies as specialists in neurosurgery only those who voluntarily petition it for the purpose of evaluation and certification.
The ABNS is not concerned with the acquisition of special privileges in the practice of neurosurgery for its Diplomates. It does not define requirements for membership on the staff of any hospital, university, or clinic, nor does it attempt to designate who shall perform any neurosurgical procedure. It specifically disclaims interest in or recognition of any differential remuneration which may be based on certification. Its Certificates do not confer any legal degree of qualification, privilege, or license to practice neurosurgery. The ABNS does not intend to interfere with or limit the professional activities of any duly licensed physician whom it has not certified.