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J Neurosurg. 2005 Feb;102(2):202-8.

Neurosurgical workforce trends in the United States.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the US neurosurgery workforce by reviewing journal recruitment advertisements published during the past 10 years.


The number of available academic and private neurosurgical staff positions was determined based on recruitment advertisements in the Journal of Neurosurgery and Neurosurgery for the 10-year period from 1994 to 2003. Advertisements were evaluated for practice venue, subspecialization, and location. The numbers of active neurosurgeons and graduating residents also were reviewed. The number of advertised neurosurgical positions increased from 141.6 +/- 38.2 per year from 1994 through 1998 to 282.4 +/- 13.6 per year from 1999 through 2003 (mean +/- standard deviation, p < 0.05). The mean number of academic positions increased from 50.6 +/- 11.1 to 95 +/- 17.5 (p < 0.05), and the mean number of private positions rose from 91 +/- 30.4 to 187.4 +/- 6.8 (p < 0.05). Subspecialty positions represented a mean of only 15.6 +/- 5% per year during the first time period and 18.8 +/- 3% per year in the second period (p = 0.22), and therefore the majority of positions advertised continued to be those for generalists. The number of practicing neurosurgeons declined after 1998, and by 2002 it was less than it had been in 1991. The numbers of incoming and matriculating residents during the study period were static.


The number of recruitment advertisements for neurosurgeons during the last 5 years has increased significantly, concomitant with a severe decline in the number of active neurosurgeons and a static supply of residents.

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