Surgical Fellowships at Yale

Neurovascular/Endovascular Fellowship

An enfolded fellowship in endovascular neurosurgery is available through the Neurovascular Section. Opportunities for further developing cerebrovascular and skull base microsurgical skills is also available through operative experience, as well as the Cerebrovascular/Skull Base microsurgical dissection laboratory through the Neurovascular Section.


Please contact charles.matouk@yale.edu for more information.

Epilepsy Fellowship

The epilepsy surgery program offers a flexible experience in the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to medically intractable seizures. A single position for six months to one year is available either following completion of neurosurgical training or enfolded within the residency. A Yale-New Haven Hospital resident may elect to concentrate within this specialty for six months to one year and, if choosing this path, may combine clinical experience with ongoing research related to epilepsy.

For individuals choosing the one-year course, either during or following neurosurgery training, the year begins in July and the first three months are spent in Neurology. Here the fellow works with the medical epileptologists attending outpatient clinics, evaluating patients for the surgical program, learning about the appropriate selection of anticonvulsants, and studying both scalp and intracranial electroencephalography. The surgical fellow rotates with the neurology fellows supervising the audiovisual monitoring (AVEEG) of Phase-1 patients (24-hour scalp monitoring selection for surgical candidacy) and caring for the patients undergoing chronic intracranial study (Phase 3). The fellow is supervised in the AVEEG monitoring suite by an epileptology faculty and is then responsible for presenting these patients at the weekly Monday epilepsy surgery conference. The next nine months are then spent in the surgical arm of the program where they take part in both diagnostic and therapeutic surgical procedures. There is a close interaction with the other residents who also take part in the surgical procedures assuming the role of assistant or primary surgeon, depending on year of training and ability. The fellow is expected to carry out at least one clinical research project during this year, attend twice weekly clinics, present at monthly Journal Club, and at the end of the year prepare an abstract for the yearly meeting of the American Epilepsy Society.

Please contact colleen.malone@yale.edu and dennis.spencer@yale.edu for more information.

Spine Fellowship

The Yale University Spine Instructorship is a structured advanced training for complex spinal surgeries including spinal deformity, tumors, and trauma. Fellows are expected to participate in 350-400 cases per year, with a large portion in an independent manner.

While under the mentorship of the Spine Faculty, the Clinical Instructor follow the same rules related to other faculty appointments with respect to time off and benefits. The fellows are assigned call days for Spine and general Neurosurgery coverage, but will always take call with a Spine faculty in order to facilitate mentorship and education of complex cases which come in on call.

The Instructors function as independent attending surgeons working with, educating, and overseeing the residents on the service. In addition to clinical care and research, we expect the Spine instructors to develop strong teaching and organizational skills necessary to participate in an academic career. The Instructor will work closely with the residents on the Spine service to coordinate patient care along with instructing the residents and nurse practitioners in patient management and operative techniques. They will have an independent outpatient clinic concurrent with one of the spine faculty members, who is always available to help provide advice and guidance as needed.

The Instructors are expected to attend and participate in a weekly Neurosurgery Grand Rounds, weekly journal club if the topic is spine related, and coordinate a monthly combined Spine Conference with Orthopedics and Neurosurgery. The Instructors are required to have at least one research project and present a paper or abstract at a spring Neurosurgery or Spine meeting.

The Spine Instructor is directly mentored by one of the Spine Faculty, including in the OR when one of the Spine Faculty will be their assistant in surgery, along with outpatient clinics where there will be a Spine Faculty holding a concurrent clinic and available to help review and see any patients with complex issues. The Instructor also chooses a research mentor to help guide and foster their academic work. Dr. Abbed as the Director of the Complex Spine Instructorship will have an informal monthly breakfast meeting with the Instructors and the Residents on the Spine service to discuss the state of the Service. In addition, the Complex Spine Instructorship Director will have formal quarterly meetings with the Fellows to ensure that they are meeting their goals, reviewing: 1. Patient Care/Clinical Activity, 2. Research, 3. Education/Teaching, 4. Publications, and 5. Professional Services/Activities in Field. This formal report includes mid-year reports and end of the year reports submitted to the Chair and Vice-Chair of Neurosurgery.

As noted on the Supervision area, the Spine Instructor is evaluated directly by the Spine Faculty on a daily basis when they work together, including in the OR and clinic. The Instructor is also evaluated by their research mentor based on their academic goals. There is an informal evaluation at a monthly breakfast meeting with the Fellow and the Residents on the Spine service, along with a formal quarterly meeting with the Instructorship and Spine Directors to review their performance goals in 5 main areas.

Resident education and training is a core component of our Academic mission, and the Spine Instructorship is only being offered as it will not impact resident training and allow educational benefit for the complex spine cases. As the Instructors function as attending surgeons working with, educating, and overseeing the residents on the service, they do not detract from resident training but provide more surgical cases and educational opportunities for them. In addition, primary coordination of the inpatient service and case assignments are under the auspice of the Chief Resident, which also ensures the residents are able to have the experience and oversight of the cases needed for their core training. Please contact luis.kolb@yale.edu for more information.

Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Historically, the field of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) was established by neurosurgeon Lars Leksell in the 1950’s as an adjunct to the treatment of deep brain lesions otherwise not accessible to more conventional neurosurgery. Since its inception, its application has evolved from its initial role in functional lesion generation to include the treatment of a variety of benign neoplastic or vascular lesions such as AVMs, meningiomas and vestibular schwannomas. Since the mid 1990s, however, SRS has additionally achieved a prominent role in the management of both brain and spinal malignant tumors. 

With the exponential growth of brain and spine metastases as the single most common indication for SRS today, the relative roles of the radiation oncologist, medical physicist, and neurosurgeon have changed considerably. In addition, current spine and body radiosurgery require increasing knowledge of complex linear accelerator (LINAC)-based technologies that are not included in the training of most neurological surgeons. To date, radiosurgical treatment has achieved widespread success based on careful joint patient selection, optimal treatment planning, and accurate dose delivery based on direct participation by a trained and responsible neurosurgeon working closely in conjunction with a radiation oncologist well versed in the single fraction dosing of radiation. Despite the rapid growth in the availability of radiosurgical-capable technology, however, current US neurosurgery and radiation oncology residents participate in the delivery of less than 5% of radiosurgical procedures. It is also recognized that there is significant variability in the availability of SRS training opportunities across residencies. 

This fellowship began in 2011. It is being offered to radiation oncology and neurosurgery residents as comprehensive clinical training specifically in the area of radiosurgery and offers additional clinical research opportunities. For the radiation oncology resident, the fellowship is of 12 months duration and covers radiosurgical management of both body and brain conditions. For the neurosurgery resident, the fellowship can be of 3-6 month duration and would be predominantly based on training in the Gamma Knife treatment of intracranial pathologies. Please contact veronica.chiang@yale.edu for more information.