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The American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery (ABPNS) certifies pediatric neurosurgeons.

Neurosurgery for
Infants and Children


The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 3 of Hydrocephalus: A Guide for Patients, Families, and Friends by Chuck Toporek & Kellie Robinson, copyright 1999 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. For book orders/information, call 1-800-998-9938. Permission is granted to print and distribute this excerpt for noncommercial use as long as the above source is included. The information in this article is meant to educate and should not be used as an alternative for professional medical care.

Infants and children with hydrocephalus have a different set of primary care needs, are more prone to having learning disabilities, and can lag behind in social activities. Because neurosurgeons who concentrate on pediatric care attend to more infants and children than other neurosurgeons, they are more capable of meeting the patient's and the family's needs for physical, emotional and psychological care.

Over the past few years, neurosurgeons who predominantly treat pediatric patients (children and infants) organized the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery (ABPNS). Although not yet recognized by the ABMS as a medical specialty, ABPNS began certifying pediatric neurosurgeons in 1996. A list of board certified pediatric neurosurgeons is updated on the Internet at: http://www.abpns.org/

Under the proposed petition, candidates who apply for certification as a pediatric neurosurgeon will have to meet one of the following criteria to become board certified:

  • Complete an accredited post-graduate fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery as outlined by the Accreditation Council for Pediatric Neurosurgical Fellowships, Inc.

  • Successfully complete the written examination of the ABPNS.

  • Acquire certification by the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).

  • Submit surgical logs indicating a practice of pediatric neurosurgery for the year prior to submitting their application. These logs must demonstrate that 75 percent of their cases were age 21 or under, or they must have treated 125 patients who were below the age of 12.
Under the proposed petition, certification will also be considered for senior neurological surgeons who have established themselves as practitioners of pediatric neurosurgery and have:
  • Had the requirement for accredited fellowship training waived by a special review of the ABPNS.

  • Successfully completed the examination in pediatric neurosurgery, which is given by the ABPNS.

  • Acquired certification by the ABNS or the RCPSC.

  • Submitted surgical logs indicating a practice of pediatric neurosurgery for the year prior to submitting their application. These logs must demonstrate that 75 percent of their cases were age 21 or under; or they must have treated 125 patients who were below the age of 12.
Since pediatric neurosurgery is a specialty, you may want to consider having this kind of specialist operate on your infant or child. If your child's neurosurgeon is not certified by the ABPNS, ask the neurosurgeon how much of his practice is with infants and children, and how many shunt operations for hydrocephalus he does in a year.


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