Review Detail

by Neil X     September 10, 2012    
(Updated: September 24, 2018)
Overall rating 
Staff Surgeons 
Operating Experience 
Clinical Experience 
Overall Experience 

Current resident perspective

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
We are a relatively new program (now in our 7th year) so I wanted to give everyone some insight into the program we are all proud to be part of.

Our faculty is one of our strongest selling points, who are stand-outs in their respective specialties, but they are all choosing to be faculty because they love teaching. Overall the department is the highest volume orthopedic center in California, in the largest hospital on the west coast (1000 beds).

In 2018, the orthopedic department is ranked #9 nationally by USNWR, and the hospital is ranked #8 in the nation.

Chairman: Mark Vrahas joined last year from Harvard, where he was chief of Orthopaedic Trauma at MGH and Brigham Women's. We are lucky to have him, as he is great to work with and has elevated the department as a whole.

Trauma: One of our busiest services with 5 experienced trauma surgeons. Donald Wiss is considered one of the godfathers of ortho trauma (ask your attendings, they have probably read his book Master Techniques in Orthopedic Surgery Fractures). Dr. Vrahas came in with the reputation of being one of the MGH resident's favorite attendings and this definitely holds true. Dr. Moon is the busiest trauma surgeon (maybe in the entire state) and loves to teach. Dr. Little is a great surgeon who gives us a taste of his Harborview training. Dr. Lin is our assistant residency director and is a fantastic teacher.

Joints: We have the highest joint volume in the state. As 2nd years we rotate with Drs. Spitzer and Klapper, both well known in the city with a large practice. Dr. Paiement takes us under his wing as 3rd years, where we do primaries and revisions. We work with Dr. Penenberg as a 5th year, who is famous for inventing the direct superior PATH approach and has a busy practice of both primaries and complex revisions.

Foot & Ankle: Possibly our department with the biggest academic names. Dr. Thordason is the former USC PD, director of research at Cedars, as well as THE editor-in-chief of Foot & Ankle International. Dr. Pfeffer is past-president of AOFAS and chief editor of the textbook Operative Techniques: Foot and Ankle. We also work with Dr. Charleton, formerly at USC and is a great teacher.

Oncology: Dr. Brien was the Cancer Liaison for ACOS, and Dr. Allison specializes in oncology and complex joints.

Hand: Dr. Cohen is very well known in Hand and leads our rotation. Dr. Kulber, Dellamaggiora, Kuschner, and Tsai are our other teaching faculty and have more volume than we can cover. Given the large volume, USC plastic surgery does their hand rotation with us as well.

Sports: We work with our core Cedars-Sinai sports faculty (Drs. Kremen, Ahluwalia, Millstein, Hohl, Lerebours, Gabriel, Vaishnav). Again, there is more volume than residents can cover. In addition, we have recently merged with Kerlan-Jobe (probably the most well known sports clinic in the west coast with huge academic names) and have started sending residents to work at K-J as 3rd years.

Spine: We have more Spine cases at Cedars than any other hospital in California, and we work with 8 core spine faculty. There is a good mix of deformity, MIS, microscope work, etc. Look up the Cedars Spine Center online.

Pediatrics: We work with Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Hohl at Cedars. Dr. Hohl specializes in pediatric sports medicine and Dr. Bernstein does all of pediatrics including spine. We also work at CHLA for 4-6 months, one of the most prominent pediatric orthopedic department in the nation. The attendings there basically wrote Masters Techniques in Pediatric Orthopedic surgery and also wrote most/all of the technique guides on orthobullets.
Didactics / Teaching
We have weekly didactics every Friday morning which is excused learning time for residents. We have bi-monthly skills lab (e.g. sawbones) and monthly anatomy lab. We host the annual Los Angeles Orthopedic Trauma conference at the nearby Sofitel Hotel. We also occasionally have industry sponsored teaching events (e.g. mobile anatomy lab that comes to Cedars for us to practice joints).
Operating Experience
High volume with graduated autonomy
Clinic Experience
About 2 clinic days a week / 3 operative days a week
Research Opportunities
Research has traditionally been a weakness here, but is now an absolute strength. For example, in 2017 there were multiple residents with JBJS articles in that year alone...

-A Cedars-Sinai resident has won 2 of the last 4 best paper awards at the annual California Ortho Association (COA)
-Our orthopedic program received the award for most abstracts accepted to the Western Ortho Association Meeting (WOA) in 2018
-Multiple Cedars-Sinai residents have been awarded large research grants as the PI
-Cedars has the largest non-university affiliated NIH funding in country.

You can take an optional funded year off for research if you wish. There is also a masters program in healthcare delivery at Cedars that you can take, fully funded, as part of your year off.

Biomechanics lab: Run by Dr. Metzger and she has at least 3-4 residents working on projects with her per year. Residents have received OREF grants through this lab.

Basic science lab: Two main basic science labs (Gazit lab and Sheyn lab) with a main focus on regenerative medicine, spine, and stem cell technology. There are usually 2-3 residents working in basic science projects per year. Multiple residents have won large CSRS and OREF grants in the last 2 years.

Clinical research: plentiful, just have to look in your area of interest.

Our program director Guy Paiement (formerly of UCSF and UCI), came to Cedars 10 years ago to build the residency program, is the best resident advocate imaginable.

We have a competitive match and usually match within our top 10 without playing games. While most of the residents have a california connection, usually 1 resident per year does not. We match residents from both large academic medical schools and smaller schools.

Fellowship match: one of the biggest questions people ask us is how we do with the match since we are a relatively new program. Thankfully we have been very successful thus far - our faculty have been very helpful in the match process.


Spine - UCSF
Joints - Minnesota
Sports - Northwestern
Sports - Taos

Spine - Cedars-Sinai
Joints - Harvard/Brigham
Foot and Ankle - Baylor
Pediatrics - Rady Children's Hospital

Spine - Harvard/MGH/Brigham
Foot and Ankle - Harvard/Brigham
Sports - Brown
Call schedule:
Junior call is Q4 in-house call by the second years, with 3rd years filling in for vacations. Post-call days are strictly enforced.
Senior call is Q6 home call by the 4th/5th years
CHLA call is Q6 in-house call

Vacation: 1 week off per quarter (4 weeks off/year)
Location / Housing
Los Angeles, especially the Beverly Hills/ West Hollywood area around Cedars-Sinai, can be pricey. It is more expensive than Chicago, on par with Boston, and cheaper than NYC and SF. The good news is that Cedars pays us more than the other LA residency programs. This area is considered one of the most desirable locations in LA. Beverly Hills is more luxe and WeHo is more trendy. Most residents live within a 3-5 mile radius from the hospital.

Beach, sun, surf, hiking, sand, nearby skiing. Los Angeles has something for everybody!
None! (biased)
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Come visit us, whether it is as a sub-intern or for your interview. We like to think we have an exciting, up-and-coming residency. We have 30-40 sub-interns a year from schools around the country, so apply early!


I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
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