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Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship

Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship

About the Program

Program director:  Peter Tang, MD, MPH
Accreditation:  ACGME
Program length:  1 year (August 1 through July 31)
Fellows per year:  2

The Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) Hand, Upper Extremity & Microvascular Fellowship is one-year in length, from August 1 through July 31, and is ACGME accredited for two positions.  

The AGH Hand & Upper Extremity Center treats a wide spectrum of hand and upper extremity disorders. AGH is designated as a Regional Resource (Level 1) Trauma Center. The 750-bed hospital serves as a five-state referral base for trauma, microsurgery, congenital, and reconstructive surgery. The facility includes a modern, well-equipped 64-bed orthopaedic unit, 18-bed pediatric unit, and a surgery center. The fellows primarily are based out of AGH but also provide care at satellite offices and surgery centers, as well as Forbes Regional Hospital which is designated at a Level II Trauma Center. A variety of hand and wrist trauma, including replantation and revascularization procedures, are performed routinely. Additionally, the fellowship covers the treatment of acute and reconstructive upper extremity trauma including forearm, elbow, humeral, clavicular, and scapular injuries.

The fellowship provides experience in common and complex acquired and degenerative disorders. Our multidisciplinary team of surgeons and therapists has extensive experience treating an array of problems including nerve compression and injury, arthritic disease (degenerative and rheumatoid), sports injuries, and other routine upper extremity conditions.  There is extensive experience in wrist, elbow, and shoulder arthroscopy and arthroplasty making it a true upper extremity fellowship. The Department provides medical coverage for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the team’s hand care is managed by the division.

Fellows learn in a collegial environment with a focus on resident and fellow education.  Each rotation for the fellows is three months in duration and fellows will be on each service twice during the year.  Each of the surgeons covers the entire upper extremity from shoulder to finger tip.  Fellows will work with the following Attending Surgeons: Dr. Edward Birdsong, Dr. Brad Palmer, Dr. Colin Brabender, and Dr. Peter Tang. The pediatric experience consists of a three week rotation at Shriner’s Hospital of Philadelphia with Dr. Scott Kozin and Dr. Dan Zlotolow.

The core principles of hand surgery will be taught including diagnosis, disease history, science, and classification, non-operative treatment, peri-operative care, surgical technique including soft tissue handling, and post-operative care including therapeutic protocols.  There is a weekly Hand & Upper Extremity Conference (Wednesday, 6:30 – 7:15 am) dedicated to all aspects of reconstructive, trauma, congenital, microsurgery, and rehabilitation. Upper Extremity Fracture Conference immediately proceeds Hand Conference from 6:00 – 6:30 am every Wednesday. Other conferences include a weekly Grand Rounds Conference, Indications Conference, monthly Hand Journal Club and the Department’s monthly Morbidity and Mortality Conference. At the end of each three month rotation fellows are evaluated and given mini-oral exams during their exit interviews.

There is an opportunity for teaching, research, and scholarly activity.  Two publishable research projects are to be completed by the end of the fellowship year. There is an active biomechanics lab with a state-of-the-art elbow simulator and there is opportunity to participate in multiple clinical studies. Fellows work with residents and medical students in the office, hospital, emergency room, and operating room and are expected to contribute to their education in a meaningful manner throughout the year.