Hand surgery fellows thoroughly train in all aspects of hand surgery through clinical and research activities. As a hand surgery fellow, you are responsible for the examination and diagnosis of new patients, with staff supervision in the clinic and operating room. You serve as first assistant on staff surgical cases. Your responsibilities and prerogatives are commensurate with ability.

Clinical training

During the Hand Surgery Fellowship, you rotate on a quarterly basis with one of the 10 full-time hand consultants in a team with an orthopedic surgery or a plastic surgery resident. This arrangement optimizes your exposure to each consultant.

Each team consists of at least two consultants, a hand fellow, a senior orthopedic or plastic surgery resident, and an orthopedic junior resident or physician assistant. You are responsible for emergency hand service on a rotating basis, as well as on weekends, with both direct patient care and backup call to senior residents.

During the first three months, you participate in a one-week course on microvascular surgery, with additional laboratory training available as scheduling permits. A two-day course on advanced anatomy of the upper extremity also is given during the first quarter of the fellowship.

A second one-week course in the Microsurgical/Microvascular Laboratory is available for further development of microsurgical techniques during the second six-month period of the fellowship. Specific training in advanced surgical techniques, including arthroscopy, is offered throughout the academic year.

Didactic training

Clinical conferences, seminars, small discussion groups, journal clubs and one-on-one instruction are integral parts of the Hand Surgery Fellowship.

Teaching conferences include:

  • Weekly Friday morning breakfast conferences, at which interesting cases and a 30-minute hand topic are presented by the hand fellows, residents or staff
  • Weekly Monday morning general orthopedic fracture conferences, with six hand topics a year
  • Weekly Wednesday morning journal club
  • Six other Saturday morning hand conferences a year

Research training

Research opportunities at Mayo Clinic are outstanding. Fellows are encouraged to participate in research projects with the consulting staff, including clinical studies and laboratory-based projects.

Each hand fellow is encouraged to plan a course of study that includes a clinical research project.

Call frequency

Your call schedule is typically every fourth night. There is always a resident on first call. Mayo Clinic follows the schedule recommendations of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Teaching opportunities

Fellows teach Mayo Clinic School of Medicine students and visiting students from other medical schools through bedside instruction and formal didactic lectures.


To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop your technical skills, your performance is monitored carefully during the course of the Hand Surgery Fellowship. After each clinical rotation, you are formally evaluated by your supervising faculty member. In addition, you regularly evaluate the faculty to ensure that your educational needs are being met.

July 28, 2014