Hand Surgery

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17 years 4 months ago - 17 years 4 months ago #7908 by
Replied by on topic hand fellowships
I was surprised to hear those salary figures as well. Of course the sample is small compared to the total number of hand surgeons - and, who knows if these were just orthopaedic guys doing surgeries on the wrist and parts distal? I don't even know the percentage of hand fellowship-trained docs who do only hand, or who are part of hand-only groups.

The Hand Society ( www.assh.org ) was understandably concerned over the past several years as applications for hand fellowships were dropping. There was a paper published in the past couple of years about "why fellers go into hand surgery" or something - Journal of Hand Surgery:

Volume 29, Issue 4, Pages 738-747 (July 2004)
Factors influencing residents? decisions to pursue a career in hand surgery: a national survey
Kevin C. Chung a, Frank H. Lau b, Sandra V. Kotsis a and H. Myra Kim c

The conclusion was:

"Lifestyle issues associated with a career in hand surgery such as low reimbursement and long hours were not the most important factors to residents when considering a career in the field. Residents pursued hand surgery primarily because of factors such as interest in and exposure to this field. To prevent a potential shortfall of hand surgeons, both orthopedic and plastic surgery programs must strengthen residents? exposure to hand surgery education in their training."

On the ASSH website, fellowships are divided into "plastics accredited" and "ortho accredited". I only looked at ortho ones, and I wasn't interested in the coasts, though I got lots of recommendations for some programs on the coasts. I did get an interview at Seattle (UW), but did not have time to fit it in. The only east coast program I heard good things about and applied specifically for was Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore. I couldn't fit that one in either. But, I wanted to stay away from the coasts ideally for family reasons. Here is a sampling of some "top-tier" programs recommended to me by faculty:

Indiana Hand Center
Curtis - Baltimore
Stern - Cincinatti (recently added a third fellow this year)
Allegheny - Pittsburgh (recently becoming recognized as a top place)
Washington University - St. Louis

Another thing to realize is that there has been a recent push among teachers of hand surgery to incorporate elbow and shoulder more consistently into the hand fellowship experience. Some of the changes along these lines are so recent that some faculty may not be aware of them.

I can't speak with any wisdom about most coastal programs.


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