Barrow Neurological Institute

Barrow Neurological Institute
Dignity Health
Barrow Spetzler NeuroscienceTower 900x653.jpg
The Robert F. Spetzler Neuroscience Tower at Barrow
Location350 West Thomas Rd, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Coordinates33°28′51″N 112°04′46″W / 33.480726°N 112.079483°W / 33.480726; -112.079483Coordinates: 33°28′51″N 112°04′46″W / 33.480726°N 112.079483°W / 33.480726; -112.079483
TypeTeaching Hospital, Research Institute
Emergency departmentLevel I trauma center
Beds64 Neuroscience ICU beds, 80 Neuroacute Beds
ListsHospitals in Arizona

Barrow Neurological Institute is the world's largest neurological disease treatment and research institution, and is consistently ranked as one of the best neurosurgical training centers in the United States.[1] Founded in 1962, the main campus is located at 350 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, Arizona.


Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center is the world's largest dedicated neurosurgical center and a leader in neurosurgical training, research, and patient care.[2] More operative neurosurgical procedures take place at Barrow than at any other institution in the United States.[2] Under the directorship of Dr. Michael Lawton,[3] the institution's unique capabilities and achievements are recognized internationally.

Barrow was started by Dr. John Green and Dr. Betty Clements as a regional center for patients with neurosurgical issues. It was named after a donation from Clyde Barrow, whose family owned companies including Joy Manufacturing.[4] The institution has rapidly expanded over the last 30 years.[2] Barrow receives referrals from all over the world and is internationally recognized for the treatment of disorders such as cerebrovascular aneurysms, hypothalamic hamartomas and other brain tumors, complex spinal disorders, stroke, and Parkinson's disease at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. The center is home to the largest neurosurgical residency program in the United States, and hundreds of neurosurgeons from around the world visit yearly to attend the Spetzler-Rhoton Skull Base Course and the Barrow Symposium.[5] Dr. Lawton is assisted in his leadership role by Dr. F. David Barranco[6] and Dr. Jeremy Shefner.[7]

Clinical volume

One of Two Neuroscience Towers at Barrow.

The clinical volume at Barrow Neurological Institute is unparalleled by any other institution in the United States. There are 11 dedicated neurosurgical ORs, typically with 2 cases per room, averaging 18 to 20 cases per weekday and 100 cases per week. Previous figures reported to the ACGME for re-accreditation in 2007–8 academic year was a total of 6,681 cases (not including the majority of supplementary procedures).[8] Additionally, the institution is home to a 64-bed neurosurgical ICU, the largest of its kind in the world. The neurosurgical operating rooms at Barrow were completed in 2006[9] and are still considered state of the art.[8] Each operating room is about two times the size of a traditional operating room and fitted with three 64-inch plasma screens, two high definition cameras, and access to a single 3T intraoperative MRI.[9] These 11 dedicated neurosurgical operating rooms with ancillary staff sub-specialized only in neurosurgical care, are the most of any single institution in the world.


Barrow Neurological Institute accepts four residents per year to its neurological surgery residency program, making it the largest program of its kind in the country.[10] Graduates from the program have gone on to chair other neurosurgical programs, head various national neurosurgical societies, and have patented a number of neurosurgical devices.[8] Due to Barrow Neurological Institute's high clinical volume and emphasis on resident education, the center has garnered a reputation for producing technical masters in numerous fields within neurosurgery, and has become one of the most sought after neurosurgical training programs in the world.[2]

Barrow Neurological Institute also offers three fellowships: Cerebrovascular under the direction of Dr. Michael T. Lawton, Neuroendovascular under the direction of Drs. Felipe C. Albuquerque and Andrew F. Ducruet, and complex spine under Dr. Juan Uribe.

Pediatric training and clinical care in neurology and neurosurgery take place at Barrow's satellite location at Phoenix Children's Hospital.[11]


In 2019, Doximity ranked the Neurosurgical Residency Program at Barrow Neurological Institute as the #2 training program in the U.S.[1] Additionally, in 2014 Khan et al. performed a comprehensive analysis of the academic productivity of 1225 Neurosurgeons in the United States. The authors found that the Barrow Neurosurgery Department was #2 in terms of overall academic productivity.[12]

Ivy Brain Tumor Center

In 2018, Barrow Neurological Institute received a $50 million grant from the Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation in coordination with the Barrow Neurological Foundation to establish the Ivy Brain Tumor Center. This represents the single-largest research grant in the history of brain tumor research, worldwide. The nonprofit translational research program is singularly focused on discovering new therapies for patients with glioblastoma and other aggressive brain tumors through a broad portfolio of pharmacodynamic- and pharmacokinetic-driven clinical trials, combining industry-partnered drug development with the largest operative brain tumor volume in the United States.

Current Faculty

  • Felipe C. Albuquerque - Vice-Chair AANS/CNS CV Section, Editor JNIS
  • David F. Barranco
  • Steve Chang
  • Brian C. Fitzpatrick
  • Andrew F. Ducruet
  • David Fusco
  • Mark Garett
  • Bryan S. Lee
  • Andrew Little
  • Taro Kaibara
  • U. Kumar Kakarla
  • Frederick F. Marciano
  • Rory KJ Murphy
  • Stephen M. Papadopoulos - CNS President
  • Francisco Ponce, MD - Neurosurgery Residency Program Director
  • Randall W. Porter - Founder of Medical Memory
  • Nader Sanai - Scientific Program Chair, AANS/CNS Section on Tumors, Director of Ivy Brain Tumor Center
  • P David Adelson - CNS President
  • Jeremy Shefner
  • Andrew G. Shetter
  • Laura Snyder
  • Kris A. Smith - President, Arizona Neurosurgical Society
  • Volker K.H. Sonntag - Honored Guest, CNS
  • Robert F. Spetzler - Honored Guest, CNS
  • Juan S. Uribe
  • John E. Wanebo
  • William L. White
  • Joseph M. Zambraski - Founding member, Resident CSNS Committee

In popular culture

  • I Want to Thank My Brain For Remembering Me, by Jimmy Breslin - former Pulitzer Prize winner's book on his treatment at the Barrow Neurological Institute For a brain aneurysm[13]
  • The Vow (2012) - movie based on the real story of patient treated at the Barrow Neurological Institute who woke up with severe memory loss after a TBI
  • Pam Reynolds case - notable standstill operation performed by Robert F. Spetzler that took place at the Institute in 1991 in which a 35-year-old American woman was induced into clinical death for the removal of a large aneurysm in her brain, later to accurately recall the events after claiming to have had a near-death experience[14]
  • Ronan (song) - song by Taylor Swift on Ronan Thompson, a young boy with neuroblastoma treated at Barrow Neurological Institute
  • The Healing Blade - written by Edward J. Sylvester, the book covers the history of Barrow Neurological Institute and the standstill procedure popularized by Robert Spetzler


  1. ^ a b "US News Rankings".
  2. ^ a b c d Lochhead RA, Abla AA, Mitha AP, Fusco D, Almefty K, Sanai N, Oppenlander ME, Albuquerque FC. A history of the Barrow Neurological Institute. World Neurosurg. 2010 Jul;74(1):71-80
  3. ^ "Dr. Michael Lawton". Barrow Neurological Institute. Archived from the original on 28 January 2012.
  4. ^ "THE CHARLES A BARROW COLLECTION": 4. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Kick, Shelley A.; Sonntag, Volker K.H.; Spetzler, Robert F. (1997). "Neurosurgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute". Neurosurgery. 41 (4): 930–937. doi:10.1097/00006123-199710000-00030. PMID 9316056.
  6. ^ "F. David Barranco, MD". Barrow. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Jeremy Shefner, MD, PhD". Barrow. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Barrow Residency Brochure.
  9. ^ a b Padilla, S. (2006). "In a League of its Own". Barrow Magazine. Vol. 18 no. 2.
  10. ^ Barrow Residency Website. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 May 2013. Retrieved 2012-03-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's". Retrieved 6 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Khan, N. R.; Thompson, C. J.; Taylor, D. R.; Venable, G. T.; Wham, R. M.; Michael Lm, 2nd; Klimo Jr, P. (2014). "An analysis of publication productivity for 1225 academic neurosurgeons and 99 departments in the United States". Journal of Neurosurgery. 120 (3): 746–55. doi:10.3171/2013.11.JNS131708. PMID 24359012.
  13. ^ Breslin, Jimmy (1 September 1997). Jimmy Brezler. ISBN 978-0316118798.
  14. ^ "BBC: PAM SEES GOD. NDE Pam Reynolds. Amazing! Full version!".

External links