European Medical Students' Views on Neurosurgery, with Emphasis on South-East Europe (Albania, Greece, Serbia, and Turkey)


Aysegul Esen Aydin, Department of Neurosurgery, Arnavutkoy State Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey. Electronic address:
Nurperi Gazioglu, Department of Neurosurgery, Medical Faculty, Istinye University, Istanbul, Turkey.
Anastasia Tasiou, Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital of Larissa, Larissa, Greece.
Stiliana Mihaylova, Clinic of Neurosurgery, St. Ivan Rilski University Hospital, Medical University of Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Niina Salokorpi, Department of Neurosurgery, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland, and Research Unit of Clinical Neuroscience, Medical Research Center, Oulu University, Oulu, Finland.
Maria Karampouga, Neurosurgery Department, Nicosia General Hospital, Nicosia, Cyprus.
Marike L. Broekman, Department of Neurosurgery, Haaglanden Medical Center and Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Insa K. Janssen, Department of Neurosurgery, HôpitauxUniversitaires de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland.
Hulda B. Magnadottir, Department of Neurosurgery, Upper Valley Neurology Neurosurgery, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA.
Teresa Somma, Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosciences, Reproductive and Odontostomatological Sciences, Università Degli Studi Di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy.
Ermira Pajaj, Department of Neurosurgery, Spitali Rajonal Memorial Fier, Fier, Albania.
Silvia Hernandez Duran, Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsmedizin Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.
Pia Vayssiere, Department of Neurosurgery, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG), Geneva, Switzerland.
Ana Rodríguez-Hernández, Department of Neurological Surgery, Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital, Universidad Autónoma, Barcelona, Spain.
Xanthoula Lambrianou, Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital of Larissa, Larissa, Greece.
Eleni Tsianaka, Neurosurgery Department, International Hospital, Salmiya, Kuwait.
Gail Rosseau, Department of Neurosurgery, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashington, Washington, District of Columbia, USA.
Mary Murphy, Department of Neurosurgery, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, United Kingdom.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



World neurosurgery




Europe; Medical students; Neurosurgery; Neurosurgical careers; Survey


BACKGROUND: Neurosurgery, an intricate and dynamic surgical specialty, faces challenges in attracting medical graduates. Despite its potential appeal, a decreasing trend in medical students opting for surgical specialties, including neurosurgery, is noted. This study aims to assess European medical students' perceptions of neurosurgery, focusing on South-East Europe, and address concerns about the declining interest in this field. METHODS: A comprehensive digital survey, comprising 33 questions, was distributed to 1115 medical students across 17 European countries. The survey, conducted over 9 months, gathered responses through European neurosurgical societies, the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS), and university channels. Statistical analysis utilized IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, presenting data through counts, proportions, and χ tests. RESULTS: The study reveals that, over the survey period, 834 medical students completed the questionnaire, with a predominant representation from South-East Europe. While 43.2% of participants were considering a surgical career, neurosurgery emerged as the most preferred specialty (26.37%). Despite this interest, 80.2% reported insufficient knowledge about pursuing a neurosurgical career, with limited exposure during medical education. Concerns about work-life balance, heavy workload, and hierarchical structures were prominent among respondents. CONCLUSIONS: The findings underscore the need for targeted interventions to address concerns influencing medical students' decisions regarding neurosurgery. Improving neurosurgical education, dispelling misconceptions, and creating a supportive work environment are crucial steps to attract and retain diverse talented individuals in neurosurgery. These efforts will be vital in narrowing the gap between the demand for neurosurgeons and the number of medical graduates entering the field, ensuring a sustainable future for this essential surgical specialty.


Neurological Surgery