Barrow Neurological Institute

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Barrow Neurological Institute
Dignity Health
Neuroscience Tower A at the BNI
Location 350 West Thomas Rd, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Coordinates 33°28′51″N 112°04′46″W / 33.480726°N 112.079483°W / 33.480726; -112.079483Coordinates: 33°28′51″N 112°04′46″W / 33.480726°N 112.079483°W / 33.480726; -112.079483
Hospital type Teaching Hospital, Research Institute
Emergency department Level I trauma center
Beds 64 Neuroscience ICU beds, 80 Neuroacute Beds
Founded 1961
Lists Hospitals in Arizona

Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) was founded in 1961 and is the world's largest neurological disease treatment and research institution. The main campus is located at 310 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, Arizona.


Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center is the world's largest dedicated neurosurgical center and a leader in neurosurgical training, research, and patient care.[1] More operative neurosurgical procedures take place at BNI than at any other institution in the United States.[1] Under the directorship of Dr. Robert F. Spetzler,[2] the institution's unique capabilities and achievements are recognized internationally.

Initially started by Dr. John Green as a regional center for patients with neurosurgical issues, the institution has rapidly expanded over the last 30 years.[1] BNI receives referrals from all over the world and is internationally recognized for the treatment of disorders such as cerebrovascular aneurysms, hypothalamic hamartomas and other brain tumors, complex spinal disorders, stroke and Parkinson's disease at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. The center is home to the largest neurosurgical residency program in the United States, and hundreds of neurosurgeons from around the world visit yearly to attend the Spetzler-Rhoton Skull Base Course and the Barrow Symposium.[3]

Clinical volume[edit]

One of Two Neuroscience Towers at the BNI.

The clinical volume at BNI is unparalleled by any other institution in the world.[4] There are 11 dedicated neurosurgical ORs, typically with 2 cases per room, averaging 18 to 20 cases per weekday and 100 cases per week. Previous figures reported to the ACGME for re-accreditation in 2007-8 academic year was a total of 6,681 cases (not including the majority of supplementary procedures).[4] Additionally, the institution is home to a 64 bed neurosurgical ICU, the largest of its kind in the world. The neurosurgical operating rooms at BNI were completed in 2006[5] and are still considered state of the art.[4] Each operating room is about two times the size of a traditional operating room and fitted with three 64-inch plasma screens, two high definition cameras, and access to a single 3T intraoperative MRI.[5] These 11 dedicated neurosurgical operating rooms with ancillary staff sub-specialized only in neurosurgical care, are the most of any single institution in the world.

Case Volume (Approx.)[4]
Stereotactic radiosurgery 475
Endovascular >700
Vascular 1068
Tumor 1423
Functional 448
Cranial Trauma 252
Reconstruction 53
CSF Diversion 463
Misc Cranial 1370
Degenerative Disc 1093
Spinal Tumors/Vascular 121
Spine Trauma 134
Dysraphism 10
Pain/Spasm 93
Peripheral Nerve 90
Spine Misc 13


In the last thirty years, BNI has produced arguably the most influential collection of neurosurgeons in the modern era. BNI accepts four residents per year to its neurological surgery residency program, making it the largest program of its kind in the country.[6] Graduates from the program have gone on to chair other neurosurgical programs, head various national neurosurgical societies, and have patented a number of neurosurgical devices.[4] Due to BNI's high clinical volume and emphasis on resident education, the center has garnered a reputation for producing technical masters in numerous fields within neurosurgery, and has become one of the most sought after neurosurgical training programs in the world.[1]

BNI also offers three fellowships: Cerebrovascular under the direction of Dr. Robert F. Spetzler, Neuroendovascular under the direction of Drs. Felipe C. Albuquerque and Cameron G. McDougall, and Spinal Neurosurgery under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Theodore.[1]

Current neurosurgical faculty[edit]

  • Robert F. Spetzler - Honored Guest, CNS
  • Volker K.H. Sonntag - Honored Guest, CNS
  • Felipe C. Albuquerque - Vice-Chair AANS/CNS CV Section
  • David F. Barranco
  • Steve Chang
  • Curtis Dickman - Chairperson, AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
  • Brian C. Fitzpatrick
  • Andrew Little
  • Taro Kaibara
  • U. Kumar Kakarla
  • Frederick F. Marciano
  • Cameron G. McDougall - SNIS President
  • Peter Nakaji
  • Stephen M. Papadopoulos - CNS President
  • Randall W. Porter
  • Nader Sanai - Scientific Program Chair, AANS/CNS Section on Tumors
  • P David Adelson - CNS President
  • Andrew G. Shetter
  • Kris A. Smith
  • Nicholas Theodore
  • John E. Wanebo
  • William L. White
  • Joseph M. Zambraski

Abbreviated List of Notable Alumni[edit]

Neil Martin - Chairman, UCLA

Frank Culicchia - Chairman, LSU

Michael Tymianski - Head, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto

Cargill H. Alleyne - Chairman, MCG

Roger Smith - Chairman, Tulane University

Michael Lemole - Chairman, University of Arizona

Joshua B. Bederson - Chairman, Mount Sinai

John Golfinos - Chairman, NYU

Frank Hsu - Chairman, UC Irvine

Daniel Barrow - Chairman, Emory University

Julian Bales - Chairman, Northshore University

Bernhard Meyer - Chairman, Technical University of Munich

Allan D. Levi - Chief Neurosurgery, University of Miami Hospital

Roger Hartl - Director Spine, Cornell University

Mark Hadley - Director Spine, University of Alabama; ABNS Director, CNS President

Giuseppe Lanzino - Professor, Mayo Clinic

Michael Lawton - Director Cerebrovascular, UCSF

Howard Riina - Vice Chairmain, NYU

Gregory P. Lekovic - House Clinic

Michael Alexander - Director Neurovascular/Vice-Chairman, Cedars-Sinai

Issam Awad - Director Cerebrovascular, University of Chicago

Mohammad A. Aziz-Sultan - Assistant Professor Neuroendovascular, Harvard Medical School

Nader Sanai - Director Brain Tumor Center, BNI

Christopher Ames - CoDirector Spine, UCSF

Daniele Rigamonti - Director Radiosurgery, Johns Hopkins

Jacques Morcos - Director Vascular Neurosurgery, University of Miami

Sepideh Amin-Hanjani - CoDirector Neurovascular Surgery, UIC

Antonio Bernardo - Assistant Professor, Cornell University

Wouter I. Schievink - Director Microvascular Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai

Nicholas Bambakidis - Program Director, Case Western

Ricardo Hanel - Professor, Mayo Clinic

Dean Chou - Associate Director Spine, UCSF

Dean Karahalios - Director Spine, Northshore University

Carlos David - Director Neurovascular, Lahey Clinic

Nicholas Theodore, Director Spine, BNI

Paul J. Marcotte - Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Michael Stiefel - Director Cerebrovascular, University of Pennsylvania

Curtis Dickman - CoDirector Spine, BNI

Louis Kim - Associate Professor, University of Washington

Fernando Gonzalez - Associate Professor, Jefferson Medical College

Eric W. Nottmeier - Associate Professor, Mayo Clinic 

B. Gregory Thompson - Professor, University of Michigan 

Brendon Killory - Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut

Kaushik Das - Associate Professor, NYMC

Alim Mitha - Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

Timothy Link - Assistant Professor, Columbia Neurosurgery

Peng Roc Chen - Assistant Professor, University of Texas

Wendy Spangler - Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska

Jeffrey Klopfenstein - Director Brain Tumors, University of Illinois-Peoria

Giuseppe Lanzino - Professor, Mayo Clinic

Scott Wait - Assistant Program Director and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Carolinas Medical Center

Jeffrey Thramann - Founder, Lanx Spinal Devices

In popular culture[edit]

  • I Want to Thank My Brain For Remembering Me, by Jimmy Breslin - former Pulitzer Prize winner's book on his treatment at the BNI For a brain aneurysm[7]
  • The Vow (2012) - movie based on the real story of patient treated at the BNI who woke up with severe memory loss after a TBI
  • Ronan (song) - song by Taylor Swift on Ronan Thompson, a young boy with neuroblastoma treated at the BNI
  • The Healing Blade - written by Edward J. Sylvester, the book covers the history of the BNI and the standstill procedure popularized by Robert Spetzler


  1. ^ a b c d e Lochhead RA, Abla AA, Mitha AP, Fusco D, Almefty K, Sanai N, Oppenlander ME, Albuquerque FC. A history of the Barrow Neurological Institute. World Neurosurg. 2010 Jul;74(1):71-80
  2. ^ "Dr. Robert F. Spetzler". 
  3. ^ Kick SA, Sonntag VK, Spetzler RF. Neurosurgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute. Neurosurgery. 1997 Oct;41(4):930-7.
  4. ^ a b c d e Barrow Residency Brochure.
  5. ^ a b Padilla S. In a League of its Own. Barrow Magazine. 18(2) 2006.
  6. ^ Barrow Residency Website.
  7. ^ "Jimmy Brezler". 
  8. ^

External links[edit]