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Susan R. Durham, Katelyn Donaldson, M. Sean Grady, and Deborah L. Benzil

OBJECTIVE

With nearly half of graduating US medical students being female, it is imperative to understand why females typically make up less than 20% of the neurosurgery applicant pool, a number that has changed very slowly over the past several decades. Organized neurosurgery has strongly indicated the desire to overcome the underrepresentation of women, and it is critical to explore whether females are at a disadvantage during the residency application process, one of the first steps in a neurosurgical career. To date, there are no published studies on specific applicant characteristics, including gender, that are associated with match outcome among neurosurgery resident applicants. The purpose of this study is to determine which characteristics of neurosurgery residency applicants, including gender, are associated with a successful match outcome.

METHODS

De-identified neurosurgical resident applicant data obtained from the San Francisco Fellowship and Residency Matching Service for the years 1990–2007 were analyzed. Applicant characteristics including gender, medical school attended, year of application, United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 1 score, Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) status, and match outcome were available for study.

RESULTS

Of the total 3426 applicants studied, 473 (13.8%) applicants were female and 2953 (86.2%) were male. Two thousand four hundred forty-eight (71.5%) applicants successfully matched. USMLE Step 1 score was the strongest predictor of match outcome with scores > 245 having an OR of 20.84 (95% CI 10.31–42.12) compared with those scoring < 215. The mean USMLE Step 1 score for applicants who successfully matched was 233.2 and was 210.8 for those applicants who did not match (p < 0.001). Medical school rank was also associated with match outcome (p < 0.001). AOA status was not significantly associated with match outcome. Female gender was associated with significantly lower odds of matching in both simple (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.48–0.72) and multivariate analyses (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.34–0.94 CI). USMLE Step 1 scores were significantly lower for females compared to males with a mean score of 230.1 for males and 221.5 for females (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in medical school ranking or AOA status when stratified by applicant gender.

CONCLUSIONS

The limited historical applicant data from 1990–2007 suggests that USMLE Step 1 score is the best predictor of match outcome, although applicant gender may also play a role.

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Katelyn Donaldson, Katherine E. Callahan, Aaron Gelinne, Wyll Everett, S. Elizabeth Ames, Ellen L. Air, and Susan R. Durham

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgery continues to be one of the medical specialties with the lowest representation of females in both the resident and faculty workforce. Currently, there are limited available data on the gender distribution of faculty and residents in Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)–accredited neurosurgery training programs. This information is critical to accurately measure the results of any effort to improve both the recruitment and retention of women in neurosurgery. The objective of the current study was to define the current gender distribution of faculty and residents in ACGME-accredited neurosurgery training programs.

METHODS

Data publicly available through institutional and supplemental websites for neurosurgical faculty and residents at ACGME-accredited programs were analyzed for the 2017–2018 academic year. Data collected for faculty included gender, age, year of residency graduation, academic rank, h-index, American Board of Neurological Surgery certification status, and leadership positions. Resident data included gender and postgraduate year of training.

RESULTS

Among the 109 ACGME-accredited neurosurgical residency programs included in this study, there were 1350 residents in training, of whom 18.2% were female and 81.8% were male. There are 1320 faculty, of whom 8.7% were female and 91.3% were male. Fifty-eight programs (53.2%) had both female faculty and residents, 35 programs (32.1%) had female residents and no female faculty, 4 programs (3.7%) had female faculty and no female residents, and 6 programs (5.5%) lacked both female residents and faculty. Six programs (5.5%) had incomplete data. Female faculty were younger, had lower h-indices, and were less likely to be board certified and attain positions of higher academic rank and leadership.

CONCLUSIONS

This study serves to provide a current snapshot of gender diversity in ACGME-accredited neurosurgery training programs. While there are still fewer female neurosurgeons achieving positions of higher academic rank and serving in leadership positions than male neurosurgeons, the authors’ findings suggest that this is likely due to the small number of women in the neurosurgical field who are the farthest away from residency graduation and serves to highlight the significant progress that has been made toward achieving greater gender diversity in the neurosurgical workforce.

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Katelyn Donaldson, Gretchen Scott, Fredric K. Cantor, Nicholas J. Patronas, Martha Quezado, and John D. Heiss

Diagnosing and treating patients with persistent neuropathic pain associated with peripheral nerve lesions can be challenging. The authors report the rare case of a painful eccrine spiradenoma treated as a traumatic neuroma for many years because of a history of acute trauma, the presence of a tender palpable mass, and symptoms of allodynia. Surgical excision of the neoplasm completely relieved the pain and hypersensitivity that 2 prior surgeries and other nonsurgical treatments failed to resolve. The diagnosis of eccrine spiradenoma was not established until resection and histopathological analysis of the tissue. This case highlights the need to develop and consider an extensive list of differential diagnoses, including eccrine spiradenoma, for peripheral nerve lesions that fail to respond to treatment.