Neurosurgeon transition to retirement: Results of the 2007 congress of neurological surgeons consensus conference

Alan M. Scarrow, Mark Linskey, Anthony L. Asher, Valerie C. Anderson, Nathan R. Selden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: Recent studies of age-related effects on cognition and performance have raised concerns about the appropriate timing and regulatory surveillance of retirement for surgeons. Little is known about the practice patterns and retirement plans of aging neurosurgeons. Analyses of informed opinions on possible regulatory options are also lacking. Methods: During a consensus development workshop conducted at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, participants collected data regarding neurosurgeons' retirement plans, reviewed expert background information, and assessed opinions. Participants submitted data and discussion points throughout the session using digital handheld devices. These data were then statistically analyzed, with particular attention to shifts in opinion and emergence of consensus after the presentation of expert material and discussion. Results: Neurosurgeons strongly oppose government regulation of retirement using uniform retirement age regulations. The most favored policy option, initially, particularly among older neurosurgeons, was status quo. After consensus development, the most favored policy option was local regulation by hospital privileging bodies. Neurosurgeon age, but not perceived ability to reach financial retirement goals, significantly influenced opinions. Conclusion: Retirement age is an area of active government regulation in other professions. Neurosurgeons seem to favor a flexible system of regulation based on local and quality standards, rather than national age-based thresholds. The Congress of Neurological Surgeons Consensus Conference process offers a viable methodology for initiating discussion of important policy issues facing organized neurosurgery, engaging the informed input of practicing neurosurgeons, and formulating preliminary strategies for pursuit by stakeholder neurosurgical policy organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-235
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009


  • Aging
  • Neurosurgery
  • Performance
  • Regulation
  • Retirement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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