Barrow Neurological Institute

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Barrow Neurological Institute
Dignity Health
Neuroscience Tower A at the Barrow Neurological Institute
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 is the world's largest neurological disease treatment and research institution, and is consistently ranked as one of the best neurosurgical training centers in the United States.[1] Founded in 1961, the main campus is located at 310 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, Arizona.


Barrow Neurological Institute 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.[2] More operative neurosurgical procedures take place at BNI than at any other institution in the United States.[2] Under the directorship of Dr. Robert F. Spetzler,[3] and Dr. Volker Sonntag, the institution's unique capabilities and achievements are recognized internationally.

Initially started by Dr. John Green and Dr. Betty Clements as a regional center for patients with neurosurgical issues, the institution has rapidly expanded over the last 30 years.[2] Barrow 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.[4]

Clinical volume[edit]

One of Two Neuroscience Towers at the BNI.

The clinical volume at Barrow Neurological Institute is unparalleled by any other institution in the world.[5] 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).[5] Additionally, the institution is home to a 64-bed neurosurgical ICU, the largest of its kind in the world. The neurosurgical operating rooms at Barrow were completed in 2006[6] and are still considered state of the art.[5] 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.[6] 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.


Barrow Neurological Institute accepts four residents per year to its neurological surgery residency program, making it the largest program of its kind in the country.[7] 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.[5] Due to Barrow Neurological Institute'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.[2]

Barrow Neurological Institute 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.[2]


In 2014, Doximity/U.S. News & World Report ranked the Neurosurgical Residency Program at Barrow Neurological Institute as the #2 training program in the U.S.[1] Additionally, in 2014 Khan et al. performed a comprehensive analysis of the academic productivity of 1225 Neurosurgeons in the United States. The authors found that the Barrow Neurosurgery Department was #2 in terms of overall academic productivity.[8]

Neurosurgery Softball[edit]

BNI Softball

The BNI Softball team, known as the "Chiefy's," are the winningest team at the Annual Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament hosted by Columbia University in New York City.[9] The tournament, which benefits brain tumor research, is a competition among 30 teams representing the top neurosurgical institutes from across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The Chiefy's began participating in the tournament in 2009, and have since won five titles in six years (2010, 2011, 2013, 20142015), the most of any team.[10]

Current neurosurgical faculty[edit]

Robert F. Spetzler - Honored Guest, CNS

Volker K.H. Sonntag - Honored Guest, CNS

Curtis Dickman - Chairperson, AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Nicholas Theodore - ABNS Oral Board Examiner

Felipe C. Albuquerque - Vice-Chair AANS/CNS CV Section

David F. Barranco

Steve Chang

Brian C. Fitzpatrick

David Fusco

Mark Garett

Andrew Little

Taro Kaibara

U. Kumar Kakarla

Frederick F. Marciano

Cameron G. McDougall - SNIS President

Peter Nakaji - AAN/CNS CV Section Program Co-chair

Stephen M. Papadopoulos - CNS President

Randall W. Porter - Founder of Medical Memory

Nader Sanai - Scientific Program Chair, AANS/CNS Section on Tumors

P David Adelson - CNS President

Andrew G. Shetter

Kris A. Smith - President, Arizona Neurosurgical Society

John E. Wanebo

William L. White

Joseph M. Zambraski - Founding member, Resident CSNS Committee

Notable Alumni[edit]

Neil Martin - Chairman, UCLA

Frank Culicchia - Chairman, LSU

Michael Tymianski - Chairman, 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

Nikolai Hopf - Chairman, Stuttgart Neurosurgery

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

Peter Nakaji - Program Director, BNI

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

Tanvir Choudri - Associate Professor, Mount Sinai

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, Duke University

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 - Program Director, Director Cerebrovascular Section, 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

Mark Mahan - Assistant Professor, University of Utah

Crystal Tomei - Assistant Professor Pediatric Neurosurgery Case Western Reserve, CNS Executive Committee

Talat Kiris - Professor of Liv Hospital, Turkey, VP Turkish Neurosurgical Society, Editor Turkish Neurosurgery Journal

Andrew Ducruet - Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh

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 Barrow Neurological Institute For a brain aneurysm[11]
  • The Vow (2012) - movie based on the real story of patient treated at the Barrow Neurological Institute 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 Barrow Neurological Institute
  • The Healing Blade - written by Edward J. Sylvester, the book covers the history of Barrow Neurological Institute and the standstill procedure popularized by Robert Spetzler


  1. ^ a b "US News Rankings". 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ "Dr. Robert F. Spetzler". 
  4. ^ Kick SA, Sonntag VK, Spetzler RF. Neurosurgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute. Neurosurgery. 1997 Oct;41(4):930-7.
  5. ^ a b c d Barrow Residency Brochure.
  6. ^ a b Padilla S. In a League of its Own. Barrow Magazine. 18(2) 2006.
  7. ^ Barrow Residency Website.
  8. ^ "Rankings". 
  9. ^ "Softball Tournament". 
  10. ^ "BNI Softball Champions". 
  11. ^ "Jimmy Brezler". 
  12. ^

External links[edit]