Spine model used for training fellows in the Spine Surgery Fellowship at Mayo Clinic

Clinical training

In the Spine Surgery Fellowship, you start off the year rotating with each of the six core orthopedic staff faculty members:

These are one-on-one mentorship rotations, each lasting for six weeks.

During the second half of the year, you are able to increase your caseload and hone your surgical skills by floating between multiple staff members. You have limited clinical responsibilities outside of the operating room during this phase of the fellowship and have the flexibility to decide how often to attend clinic or operate. You continue to round with a resident on the patients of the core orthopedic faculty every other weekend, assuming the role of a junior staff member at these times.

Throughout the year, you have the opportunity to work with several colleagues in the Department of Neurologic Surgery on an ad hoc basis. Periodically, you also operate with Peter S. Rose, M.D., on spine tumor and trauma cases.

Call frequency

Spine trauma

Spine trauma call is shared with the Department of Neurologic Surgery, with each department responsible for call on alternating weeks. During the weeks assigned to orthopedics, you alternate pager call from home on weekdays and weekends. You are responsible for the evaluation of emergency patients who require a spine surgery consultation. You also work to coordinate staff coverage and formulate overall care plans.

  • Pager call from home averaging every fourth night on call
  • Evaluation of emergency patients to be admitted, after initial assessment by orthopedic and neurosurgery senior residents
  • Coordination of overall plan of care and participation in surgery on trauma patients
  • No regular orthopedic trauma call

Inpatient spine consultations

You evaluate all consultation requests when you are on spine call and coordinate further consultation with staff members.

Your call schedule is different for each rotation. Mayo Clinic follows the recommendations of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).


During the Spine Surgery Fellowship, you coordinate the weekly spine conference and attend spine conferences, Orthopedic Surgery Grand Rounds and other education conferences. Your duties also include coordinating the monthly spine journal club and maintaining our digital teaching files.

Research training

You are responsible for completing at least one clinical research project before the Spine Surgery Fellowship ends and preparing one project that can be completed by the next group of fellows. Additional clinical or basic science research opportunities are readily available.

During the fellowship, you have one day every other week to devote to research. You may apply to continue training for an additional year to acquire additional research skills.

Teaching opportunities

Opportunities are available for you to teach rotating residents.


To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop the appropriate technical skills to meet program expectations, your performance is monitored carefully during the Spine Surgery Fellowship. You are formally evaluated by supervising faculty members on a regular basis and meet with the program director to review these evaluations. In addition, you regularly evaluate the faculty to confirm that your educational needs are being met.

Nov. 23, 2017