Congress of Neurological Surgeons

Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Motto Education and Innovation
Formation 1951
Type Professional association
Headquarters Schaumburg, Illinois
Region served Worldwide
Membership 7,100
President Christopher Wolfla, M.D.
Key people

President Elect:

Ali Rezai, M.D.

Past President:

Christopher Getch, M.D.

Executive Director:

Regina N. Shupak (Interim)

The Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) is a professional body representing neurosurgeons, neurosurgical residents, medical students, and allied health professionals. The mission statement of the CNS is "To enhance the health and improve lives worldwide through the advancement of education and scientific exchange."



World War II produced a dramatic change in the world of neurological surgery. Deployed surgeons learned neurosurgery while on active duty in one of the armed services. Others experienced either abbreviated training, or had their program interrupted when called to active duty. After the war these surgeons returned to the U.S. with a need to add academic credibility to their training. Existing neurosurgical training programs incorporated these surgeons and the number of training sites proliferated. Thus, in the late 1940s there was an explosion in the numbers of young neurosurgeons surfacing in communities and seeking recognition from organized neurosurgical societies. There was intense resistance from the established neurosurgical community, however, to this new group of neurosurgeons. The Harvey Cushing Society (currently the AANS), did not immediately recognize this new group of neurosurgeons and made efforts to exclude them from their organization. The precursor to the CNS was the Interurban Neurosurgical Society organized by neurosurgeons Adrian Verbruggen and Harold Voris meeting at the University Club of Chicago. The society was open to all neurosurgeons living no more than one travel day away from Chicago. It met for one day only (Saturday). There was a mailing list but no dues, by-laws, officers or publications. About 150 neurosurgeons attended once a year. Most attendees were from the northeast, mid atlantic, southeast, and midwest. One or two discussion topics were introduced in the morning and one or two different topics were considered in the afternoon. Eventually, a more organized effort was put together when twenty two neurosurgeons met in St. Louis, Missouri. They became the Founding Members of the CNS. In 1951, the first formal organizing and scientific meeting was convened in Memphis, Tennessee, attended by 121 neurosurgeons[1]. The CNS was infolded into the AANS for several years until it held its own independent meeting in 2000, completing the separation of the two organizations. The CNS has expanded significantly and is now one of the major neurosurgical societies in the world with over 7000 members worldwide.


Membership in the Congress of Neurological Surgeons is available to board-certified and board-eligible neurosurgeons, residents, fellows, as well as nursing and allied health professionals from the US and worldwide[2]. Member dues support the educational efforts, annual meetings, publications, physician and patient resources, job placement service, advocacy, and practice management resources.

Current Membership and Membership Categories

  • Active 3,075
  • Active International 492
  • Honorary 12
  • Senior 958
  • Inactive 453
  • International Vista 372
  • Resident 1,145
  • Associate 28
  • Affiliate 68
  • Transitional 79

Total 6,682

Active Membership

An applicant for Active Membership in the Congress must be a licensed physician, whose practice is substantially limited to neurological surgery. Further, an applicant for Active Membership must:

  • be certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, the Royal College of Physicians or Surgeons of Canada, or the equivalent; or
  • have completed the residency training requirements of a program approved by the American Board of Neurological Surgery; or
  • have acceptable academic training equivalent to the requirements for eligibility for examination by the American Board of Neurological Surgery; or
  • be a member in good standing in the applicant's local or regional medical society, or provide equivalent documentation of good standing in the local medical community. Applicants who are active duty officers in the Armed Forces are exempt from this requirement.

Active International

Neurosurgeons who live and practice outside of North America (the United States, its territories, Canada and Mexico) may become Active Members with full rights, privileges, and financial obligations. Active International Members may participate in all Congress Activities and may serve as members of committees and as consultants, but may not hold office or committee chairs. Active International Members may not vote.

Affiliate Membership

Affiliate Members are individuals who are (a) Allied Healthcare Professionals (nurses, physicians' assistants, etc.), (b) involved in neurosurgically related patient care, teaching or research, and (c) have been recommended for membership in writing by one Active Member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Affiliate Members pay dues and may serve on committees but may not vote or hold office.

Associate Members

Associate Members are physicians and/or scientists who (a) are not neurological surgeons, (b) have shown distinction in some neurosurgically related discipline, and (c) have been recommended for membership in writing by two Active Members of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Honorary Members

Honorary Membership may be granted to certain individuals whom the Executive Committee selects without reference to the foregoing qualifications.

Inactive Members

Active Members in good standing may apply to the Secretary in writing for Inactive Membership, due to the onset of long-term illness, retirement from active practice, or for other reasons deemed sufficient by the Executive Committee.

International Vista

All eligible neurosurgeons must

  • Reside and practice outside North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico).
  • Be a member of your local or regional Neurosurgical Society.
  • Provide a letter of verification or certificate from your local or regional society confirming your member status via mail or fax

These members have Internet only access to CNS publications (see below).

Resident Members

Resident Membership is available to any resident or fellow in good standing in a neurosurgical training program in North America approved by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada or the equivalent entity in Mexico, or in a fellowship immediately following completion of a neurological surgery training program.

Senior Members

Senior Membership is granted to any person 65 years of age or older is an Active Member in good standing. Senior Members are exempt from payment of annual dues. Senior Members may continue to participate in committee activities, to receive the annual meeting program, to purchase Congress publications at member rates, and to avail themselves of such other benefits of membership as the Executive Committee may determine. Senior Members may be reinstated to Active Membership on request, subject to approval of the Executive Committee.

Medical Student Members

Available to medical students interested in a career in neurosurgery.

Educational Mission

The CNS has multiple efforts aimed at advancing neurosurgical education to practicing neurosurgeons, resident neurosurgeons, and medical students. These efforts include online products and services such as the University of Neurosurgery [3], the NeuroWiki [4], and Self Assessment in Neurological Surgery (SANS) [5]. Many of these educational efforts provide credits for Continuing medical education.

Maintenance of Certification

Board certified neurosurgeons must successfully pass a Maintenance of Certification exam in order to remain board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons. A component of re-certification is successful completion of the Self Assessment in Neurological Surgery (SANS) examination every 3 years[6].


The official scientific journal of the CNS is Neurosurgery, a peer reviewed, monthly publication. The CNS also produces Clinical Neurosurgery, which contains the proceedings of the annual meeting. Additionally, the CNS publishes CNS Quarterly which updates members on various CNS activities including socio-economic and political activities of the organization on a quarterly basis.


Neurosurgery is the monthly scientific journal owned and controlled by the CNS. Its current (2010 Journal Citation Reports) impact factor is 3.298 placing it 18th out of 187 peer-reviewed surgical journals, and 50th out of 185 peer-reviewed clinical neurology journals.

Annual Scientific Meeting

The CNS holds its three and a half day annual meeting in the fall of each year [7]. The meeting presents the latest in all aspects of neurosurgical research, including basic, translational, and clinical. Scientific presentations are made in oral and poster format. All sections of neurosurgery are represented during the meeting including: Cerebrovascular, Spine, Tumor, Peripheral Nerve, Pain, Stereotactic and Functional, Pediatric, and Trauma. Attending the annual meeting provides medical attendees with Continuing medical education credits.

Advocacy Efforts

The AANS/CNS Washington Committee advocates for neurosurgery in the following areas[8]:


  1. ^ [1] | History of the CNS
  2. ^ [2] | Membership information at
  3. ^ [3]| CNS University of Neurosurgery
  4. ^ NeuroWiki
  5. ^ | SANS Online
  6. ^ | ABNS website
  7. ^ Annual Meeting
  8. ^ Political Issues

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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