Why I Chose to Go through Fellowship Training
What does it mean to be a fellowship-trained surgeon?
Dr. Keith Fehring, OrthoCarolina Hip and Knee
Fellowship training is an additional year of training that a surgeon chooses to pursue in a specialized area of orthopedics. I personally chose to do an extra year of training after orthopedic residency to specialize in performing hip and knee replacements. For one year at the Mayo Clinic, I did an extra year of training to receive more specialized training in first-time hip and knee replacements, as well as re-do hip and knee replacements, or revisions. Going through fellowship training was very important to me in becoming a surgeon. Being fellowship-trained allows a surgeon to be able to train in a setting with more complex cases and broaden their knowledge in a more specific area of orthopedics.
Becoming Fellowship Trained
Orthopedic residency is a five-year program. We do rotations in various specialties in order to acquire general orthopedic knowledge and skillsets in each specialty of orthopedics: hip and knee, spine, sports medicine, foot and ankle, hand, shoulder and elbow and pediatric orthopedics. Nowadays, most orthopedic surgeons graduating from orthopedic residencies are choosing to do an extra year of fellowship in order to train in the specific specialty in which they desire to practice.
Is all fellowship training the same?
Fellowships are fairly variable as far as the types of programs and training. When a surgeon chooses a fellowship, they also choose a program, often associated with a hospital, medical university or other medical organization. OrthoCarolina offers fellowships in various subspecialties as well. A fellowship is a very unique process that allows us as surgeons to concentrate our training on the specific specialty we will go into.
What are the benefits of having a fellowship-trained surgeon?
The main benefit of having a fellowship-trained surgeon is that your surgeon trained underworld experts in one specialty for a year. In my case, I studied only hip and knee replacements for a year. During my training, I was also able to gain more experience with first-time and re-do hip and knee replacements. Most people who go through fellowships practice only in that specific field, whereas most general orthopedists tend to have a broader practice.