The courses are open to everyone. 
Each participant will at the end of each course, receive a certificate of attendance.
Those who are intending to obtain the European diploma of functional neurosurgery of ESSFN, at the end of the course cycle,  have to pass the examination at the end of each module.
Thus, each participant needs to organise their stay, so as to be present at the time of the final exam.
If you are unable to take the exam or fail, then it will be necessary to take the course again for a new examination.
To pass the exam, the candidate has to obtain a minimum score of 50%.

After completing each module participants will receive a certificate. Furthermore, if all modules have been taken it is considered to create an additional ESSFN diploma.

Further options :

  1. Theoritical training only (evaluation at the end of each module and final examination).
  2. In addition to the theoretical training, candidates will be provided with the opportunity to spend 1 year in a neurosurgical department with qualified Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery as specified by a number of criteria for eligibility.

Practical training

The unique nature and interdisciplinay nature of this specialty requires special training and skills.

Duration of Practical Training

The specialised practical training applies only to candidates (fellows) who have completed an accredited residency in neurosurgery.

After validation of the background acquired, fellows will enter their complementary training in SFN. This training program is normally 12 months.

The whole length of this training program need not be spent in a continuous period. Part-time posts may require a proportional lengthening of the training period.

Candidates must comply with national legal requirements.

Teachers and Trainers

The Programme Director

  • must be certified by the national board of neurosurgery;
  • must have special expertise in SFN
  • SFN must constitute at significant portion of his/her practice.
  • is responsible for enforcing the curriculum, accepting and supervising the fellows and involving faculty members.


  • must have an interdisciplinary set-up: In order to give the broadest overview of alternative management options it is recommended to involve, on an ad hoc basis, experts in neurophysiology, neuroradiology, movement disorders epilepsy, pain, etc. including paediatric subspecialties.
  • must provide supervision of fellows. The effectiveness of the Faculty should be periodically evaluated by the institution in consultation with fellows.
  • The proportion of fellows to trainers should not exceed the ratio of 1:2.

Patient population

The Institution’s patient population must provide a diversity of illness from which a broad experience in SFN can be obtained. There must be an adequate variety and number of new SFN procedures available for each fellow to participate.

Each fellow must participate in a minimum of 100 SFN procedures, of which 25 cases must be supervised personally led interventions. He/she must have applied the stereotactic frame independently in at least 50 cases.

Each fellow must maintain a personal case logbook which the Program Director must certify at the completion of training.

Research facilities

The institution should provide facilities to support research projects.

The fellows should be encouraged and supported to publish in peer reviewed publications and present at conferences.

Educational program


  • The fellowship program must offer teaching and clinical experience which encompasses the full clinical spectrum of SFN.
  • Before assuming primary responsibility for performing SFN, fellows must acquire basic neurosurgical knowledge.


Unless already acquired during their primary training, fellows must demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge and skills in the following fields:

  • The basic and clinical neurosciences, including neuroanatomy, neurobiology, pathophysiology and natural history of neurological disorders;
  • The clinical aspects of patient assessment, treatment options and patient management related to neurological diseases; including pre- and postoperative management
  • The perusal of all available imaging modalities used in SFN;
  • The principles and use of technologies utilised in SFN;
  • Clinical indications, risks and limitations of, as well as alternatives to radiosurgical procedures 

Practical training programme

The SFN fellows must have the opportunity to do all of the following under supervision:

  • perform clinical pre-procedure evaluation of patients
  • interpret preliminary diagnostic studies
  • consult with other clinicians in a multidisciplinary fashion
  • obtain informed consent from patients, and in the case of children from their parents/guardians
  • perform the necessary manual techniques appropriate.;
  • prepare SFN plans using the appropriate software and hardware platform;
  • generate procedural reports and discharge summaries.

The continuity of care must be of sufficient duration and structure to assure that the fellow is familiar with the clinical outcome and characteristic imaging changes after SFN procedures. Active participation in clinical auditing is mandatory.

Direct interactions of fellows with patients must be closely observed to assure that appropriate information is provided and that the highest standards of care and concern for ethics and patient welfare are maintained.

Communications, consultation and coordination of care must be documented with appropriate note in the medical record.

There shall be departmental and interdisciplinary conferences in which fellows participate on a regular basis. There must be documented regular reviews of all mortality and morbidity related to the performance of SFN.

Fellows should be encouraged to attend and participate in local extramural conferences and should attend at least one national or international meeting and postgraduate course in SFN while in training.

Evaluation of Fellows

The Program Director, in consultation with the Faculty must evaluate competence and progress of each fellow annually. The evaluation must include an assessment of knowledge, technical skills, attitudes and interpersonal relationships as well as decision-making skills and clinical management skills. These evaluations should be documented and provided to and discussed with each fellow.

The Program Director certifies the competence of the fellows at the completion of training.

Teaching quality assurance

  • The Program Director is expected to ensure that his/her program is of the highest academic standard.
  • The Program Director has to seek approval to determine whether the Fellowship Program meets the requirements specified above. The approval would be provided by the board of the ESSFN and the Educational committee of the ESSFN. Application forms can be requested from the Secretary of the ESSFN.
  • At least annually the fellows must be given the opportunity to provide a written evaluation of the program and the Faculty.