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Clinical Training

Your clinical training will cover all subspecialty areas of orthopedics, including:

  • Adult Reconstruction (and its subdivisions)
  • Foot Surgery
  • Hand Surgery
  • Microvascular Surgery
  • Orthopedic Oncology
  • Orthopedic Trauma
  • Pediatric Orthopedics
  • Spine Surgery
  • Sports Medicine

During your residency you will serve as a team physician for one of the local high schools or the junior college. You will participate in all aspects of care for the athletes: pre-participation examination, training, decision-making about continuing play, evaluation and treatment of injuries, and rehabilitation.

Rotation schedule

First Year (PGY-1) Rotation Length

General Surgery

  1. Emergency Room Surgical Service
  2. Critical Care Surgery
  3. Plastic Surgery
  4. Peripheral Vascular Surgery
3 months

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

  1. Spinal Cord Rehabilitation
  2. Sports Rehabilitation
  3. Amputee Clinic
1 month
Rheumatology 1 month
Neurosurgery 1 month

Orthopedic Adult Reconstruction

  1. Junior Resident
3 months
Second Year (PGY-2) Rotation Length

Hand Service / Basic Science

  1. Junior Resident
3 months

Adult Reconstruction / Basic Science

  1. Junior Resident
3 months

Orthopedic Trauma Service

  1. Junior Resident
3 months
Senior Resident 3 months
Third Year (PGY-3) Rotation Length

Trauma and Reconstruction

  1. Senior Resident
3 months

Off-campus Rotation

  1. Senior Resident

Mayo Clinic in Florida sports and arthroscopy rotation

  1. Nemours Children's Clinic, Wolfson Children's Hospital at Baptist Medical Center (Jacksonville, Fla.)
  2. R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland Medical Center (Baltimore, Maryland)
3 months

Adult Reconstruction

  1. Senior Resident
3 months

Orthopedic Trauma Service

  1. Senior Resident
3 months
Fourth Year (PGY-4) Rotation Length

Orthopedic Oncology

  1. Senior Resident
3 months

Pediatric Orthopedics

  1. Senior Resident
3 months
Hand Surgery, Senior Resident 3 months

Trauma and Reconstruction or

  1. Off-campus Rotation
  2. Senior Resident (see PGY-3 list for options)
3 months
Fifth Year (PGY-5) Rotation Length

Subspecialty Reconstructive Program

  1. Senior Resident
3 months

Trauma and Reconstruction

  1. Senior or Chief Resident
9 months

Rotation descriptions

Nonorthopedic Rotations
During the first year of your orthopedic surgery residency, you will have six months in nonorthopedic rotations that will help you develop knowledge and skills in areas associated with orthopedics. These rotations include:

  • Critical Care Surgery
  • Emergency Room Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Rheumatology

Junior Resident
During PGY-1 and PGY-2, you will spend nine months in hospital and outpatient assignments as a junior resident. Your assignments will vary somewhat according to your needs and prior experience. Your orthopedic rotations will include the orthopedic trauma service, pediatric orthopedics and adult reconstruction. During these rotations you will, under staff guidance, become increasingly familiar with orthopedic literature, the care of orthopedic inpatients, surgical techniques and the evaluation of outpatients, both in the clinic and the emergency room.

Basic Science Course
During six months of PGY-2, you will be excused from clinical responsibilities in the afternoon while you complete the Basic Science Course. This course includes didactic lectures presented by orthopedic staff members and faculty from allied fields; laboratory sessions; extensive reading; clinical conferences; and the opportunity to perform clinically relevant research.

Lecture topics will include a broad spectrum of science related to the musculoskeletal system, such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomechanics
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology
  • Microvascular Surgery
  • Molecular Biology
  • Orthotics
  • Pathology
  • Physiology
  • Prosthetics
  • Rheumatology

These topics will be reinforced with laboratory experiences such as anatomy (cadaver dissection), motor skills and microvascular surgery laboratories. You also will learn about orthopedic appliances and how they are used in trauma and reconstructive surgery.

Senior Resident
You will be a senior resident during your last three years of training. With considerable independence, you will consult with orthopedic patients and participate in preoperative decisions, surgical procedures and postoperative management at the hospital and outpatient clinics.

Your rotation schedule will include blocks of time devoted to hand surgery, pediatric orthopedics and orthopedic oncology.

In addition to general orthopedics, during the trauma and reconstructive rotations, you will have training that focuses on specific musculoskeletal disorders and injuries that involve the:

  • Ankle and foot
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Shoulder and elbow
  • Spine
  • Wrist and hand

Many faculty members have broad practices, so you will gain experience in a wide variety of orthopedic conditions while assigned to one service.

Chief Resident Associate
During the end of PGY4 and PGY-5, you have the opportunity to become a chief resident associate. You will work more independently than a senior resident while you manage patients with trauma, adult reconstructive problems and sports medicine problems.

This rotation gives you a diverse experience, often including trauma, in both pediatric and adult orthopedics, adult reconstruction, sports medicine, and surgery of the foot and hand. It introduces you to the various skills you will need to manage an orthopedic practice.

Rotations to Other Sites
As a senior resident, you will spend three or more months on an off-campus rotation. You may take a total of nine months on these rotations during your last three years. Your options include:

  • Mayo Clinic in Florida
    • You will gain experience in sports medicine and arthroscopy.
  • Nemours Children's Clinic within Wolfson Children's Hospital at Baptist Medical Center (Jacksonville, Fla.)
    • This large, academically oriented pediatric practice provides experience with both trauma and elective orthopedics.
  • University of Maryland, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma (Baltimore, MD)
    • Exposure to a large academic trauma center

Mayo Clinic funds the authorized additional expenses for your travel, housing, auto rental and licensure fees. Our residents consistently rate these rotations very highly.

Didactic training

Clinical conferences, seminars, small discussion groups, journal clubs and one-on-one instruction are an integral part of the Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program. You will be encouraged to attend four or more of the 14 orthopedic conferences that are available each week.

Research training

Your research opportunities at Mayo Clinic are outstanding. Orthopedic research laboratories are established in biomechanics, biochemistry and cell biology, cartilage metabolism, microvascular surgery, and molecular biology.

During your residency you will learn research methodology and will complete at least one patient-related research project. If you elect to participate in laboratory-based research, you will likely conduct research during your third year of training. Statistical support is available on the orthopedic floor and through the Department of Health Sciences Research.

When doing laboratory research, you exchange six months of clinical training during the trauma and reconstruction rotation for basic laboratory training under the guidance of a full-time staff member. This will allow you to earn a master's degree. The degree requirements include preparing and carrying out a research project, writing a thesis, and passing written and oral examinations.

Clinician-Investigator training program

Mayo Clinic's Clinician-Investigator Training Program offers an additional year of clinical and research training following your residency. This will prepare you for an academic career as either a clinician or a basic science investigator. You will become competent in clinical orthopedics and will be able to conduct independent laboratory research of the musculoskeletal system.

The clinician-investigator curriculum includes a teaching program of special seminars, specifically designed course work, and 18 months of research in one or more of four laboratories within the Department of Orthopedics. The research is performed concurrently with and in addition to your residency training.

You may apply for a clinician-investigator position during the first or second year of your residency (PGY-1 or PGY-2). As part of that application process, you must select a research project and staff adviser.

For more information visit the Clinician-Investigator Training Program Web site.

Additional training

At the conclusion of your orthopedic surgery residency, you may wish to continue your graduate medical education at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. Postgraduate fellowships are available in:

  • Adult Reconstruction
  • Ankle and Foot Surgery
  • Hand Surgery
  • Musculoskeletal Oncology
  • Spine Surgery

If you are accepted for a fellowship, you will continue to receive in-depth, daily, one-on-one training with a consultant. You also will have the opportunity to increase your own supervisory and administrative skills. Contact your program director for more information about these opportunities.

Call frequency

Your call schedule will vary by rotation. Mayo Clinic follows the schedule recommendations of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.


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

  • April 9, 2013
  • ART298775