Sub-Specialty Fellowships

Program Overview

The primary goal of the spine surgery fellowship program is to provide the fellow with comprehensive exposure and the diagnosis to treatment of all aspects of spinal disorders.  Surgical procedures include anterior, posterior and minimally invasive techniques.  The fellows are involved in 450-500 cases a year and will have an opportunity to work side-by-side with all of our spine surgeons, both in and out of the operating room. The fellows will acquire the skills necessary to assess and manage patients who present with spine-related complaints, both operatively and non-operatively.  They will also develop the surgical expertise needed to perform specialized surgery using a variety of techniques, implants and the use of navigational techniques.  The fellow is given increasing responsibility throughout the year, based on their individual progression. 

Program Summary

Fellowship Presentation


There are four 3 month rotations dividing the attendings into two separate teams.  These rotations are designed to broaden the fellow’s base of knowledge across all elements of the spine. The fellows will see a variety of spine conditions in a one-on-one mentorship environment where a fellow is exposed to a range of methods, techniques, and approaches to spine management.  The fellow will be expected to study the patient history, imaging studies, and literature for each assigned case.  They will develop skills for evaluating and managing spine disorders, deciding the appropriate approach for patient care, and executing a treatment plan for each individual case.


The fellow will have an independent clinic once a week.  They will work-up new patients: obtain a history and physical examination data, order appropriate diagnostic studies, and formulate and execute a treatment plan.  The attending staff will be available to discuss the cases on an as-needed basis.  Any operative candidates will be staffed with attending of choice.  

Hospitals and Surgery

Fellows serve as the first assistant to the primary surgeon as scheduled on rotation. The fellow will ensure appropriate imaging studies are pulled up in the OR.  Additionally, fellows will make rounds and actively participate in the post-operative care of the patients. Fellows take first call on all in-patients and discuss patient care with attending staff physicians. 

Additionally, fellows will write discharge orders and dictate all discharge notes.    


OrthoCarolina generally takes two 24 periods of time for neuropedics’ call at Carolinas Medical Center-Main.  Drs Milam, Segebarth and Chapman participate in the neuropedics’ call.  The fellow will have the first six months to become acclimated to neuropedics call while working alongside the attending on call.  Graduated responsibility will allow the last six months for the fellow to be the primary point person for the residents with the attending acting as the fellow’s back-up.  

Spine Conference

Weekly academic spine conferences are part of the CME-accredited program where unique and complex cases are presented and discussed between fellows, attending and a wide variety of experienced MDs from neurosurgery to radiology. The fellows are required to attend as well as participate and often lead the discussions.  Twice yearly, a Distinguished Lectureship in Spine Surgery is held featuring an international leader in spine.   The spine conferences provide lecture and case studies on relevant spine-related topics that emphasize diagnosis, operative and non-operative decision making, along with results and complication of all treatments.

Conference Schedule


The research and writing assignments are given at the beginning of the academic year. There are monthly research meetings with the fellows, spine attendings and the research support staff.   Fellows’ research has been presented at national and international meetings and also has been published in numerous major orthopedic and spine peer-reviewed journals. 


The fellows are expected to attend two national meetings with expenses paid by the program.  We encourage the fellows to attend the Cervical Spine Research Society meeting and the CSRS- Europe cadaveric course in Barcelona, Spain as well as the Lumbar Spine Research Society meeting.  In addition, if the fellow has research accepted at other meetings, expenses will be paid.  The fellows are also required to attend the AO Spine North American  “A Controversies in Complex Spine Surgery: A Comprehensive Hands-on Bioskills Course” as well as attend and present at the AOSNA Residents Fellows’ Forum in Banff, Canada each year. 

Current Fellows

Michael Conti Mica, MD

Michael Silverstein, MD


Fellowship Alumni

1993 Stewart Harley, MD 
1994 Bryan Gunnoe, MD 
1995 Cyrus Ghavam, MD 
1996 Henry " Chip" Iwinski, MD
1997 Stephen Waggoner, MD
1998 Frazier Jones, MD
1999 Sean Jackson, MD 
2000 James Stubbart, MD 
2001 Richard Murphy, MD 
2002 Daxes Banit, MD 
2003 Ashraf Guirgues, MD 
2004 Joseph Duncan, MD
2005 Brian Claytor, MD 
2005 Faisal Siddiqui, MD 
2006 Gary Schmidt, MD
2006 Timothy Powers, MD
2007 Leo Spector, MD 
2007 Luke Madigan, MD
2008 Brad Segebarth, MD
2008 Jon R. Gottlieb,MD
2009 Juan Raposo, MD 
2009 Michael Espiritu,MD
2010 Philip Meinhardt, MD
2010 Jason Velez, DO 
2011 Deborah Appleyard, MD
2011 Wayne Kelley, MD
2012 Tuan Bui, MD
2012 Thomas Kesman, MD 
2013 Brian Blessinger, MD
2013 Bennett Grimm, MD
2014 Thomas Loumeau,, MD
2015 Adam Caputo, MD
2015 Christoper O'Boynick, MD
2016 Daniel Baluch, MD
2016 Daniel Dixon, MD 
2017 Marco Mendoza, MD
2017 David McConda, MD


Applying To Our Program

What do we offer?

This fellowship provides the Fellow with the skills necessary to become a well-rounded clinician as well as a skilled surgeon and is best suited for an individual planning adult spine surgical practice.  The fellowship is under the auspices of seven fulltime practicing spine surgeons and four physiatrists who specialize in the conservative care of the spinal condition. The fellowship provides ample exposure to all areas of spinal pathology including trauma, infection, deformity and degenerative condition of the spine.  The surgical aspect of the fellowship emphasizes both anterior and posterior approaches to the entire spine, as well as exposure to numerous instrumentation systems and a robotic navigational system. The fellow will be exposed to approximately 450 surgical cases during a one-year period. The fellows are involved in numerous clinical and basic research projects. He/she is in charge of running a weekly multi-specialty spine conference. The Fellow will develop a close working relationship with neuroradiologists, physical therapists, physiatrists and pain anesthesiologists. Participation in national spine specialty meetings and state meetings are expected. Moonlighting opportunities for paid call in general spine, general orthopedics, and level 1 trauma spine call are also available.

Application Process: 

We participate in the San Francisco Match Program, sponsored by North American Spine Society.  Please visit the website for further instructions on the application process as well as the guidelines and timeline for applying: We accept two fellows per academic year.


Applicants must be eligible for Board Certification in Orthopaedic Surgery or Neurosurgery. We only accept applications from physicians who are eligible for US or Canadian Board Certification.


  • $63,000/year
  •  2 weeks PTO 
  • Fellowship funded: Four national meetings and one international cadaveric course.

Post Fellowship

  • The surgeons continue to offer support and total access to all previous spine fellows via email, phone conferences, film review, and consultations.
  • Spine Fellows two years removed will be invited back to Spine Center for Oral Boards preparation and to review their cases from the past two years in a roundtable discussion.
  • A spine surgery fellowship reunion dinner is held each year during the Cervical Spine Research Society.  Spine Fellows from the past 20 years are given the opportunity to come together to discuss their experiences within their own practices as well as giving a little insight to the more recent fellows and the current fellows.  The dinner helps to provide new connections and support team amongst other their colleagues similarly trained across the country. 

AO Affiliation:

OC Spine fellowship is also considered an AOSNA (AO Spine North America) fellowship site, NuVasive funded and extend the following opportunities to the fellows.

  • Fellows Orientation Course –Fellows are invited /funded to attend the AOSNA Fellows Orientation Course. This educational course is designed to provide early interaction between the fellow(s), their peers and AO Spine members and faculty. 
  • Annual Fellows Forum – The spine fellows and their program directors are invited to attend an annual AOSNA Fellows Forum held in Banff, Canada. The fellows are asked to report on their research activities and give a presentation on their research projects.
  • AO Spine Membership – The fellow is given a complimentary membership to AO Spine.