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Orthopedic Spine Surgery Fellowship

Program Overview

The Kaiser Permanente Northern California Regional Spine Surgery Center is offering an extraordinary opportunity to complete a fellowship at Kaiser Permanente’s flagship hospital in Oakland, CA.  This fellowship program offers a unique experience for a hard-working candidate interested in comprehensive spinal care.  All areas of spinal care are well covered including degenerative spinal pathology, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, adult and pediatric deformity and tumor.

Each fellow will evaluate patients in the clinic and actively participate in the pre-operative decision-making as well as the surgical procedures.  The fellow will become expert in performing complex pre-surgical evaluations and have an effective command of intricate surgical procedures.  The Regional Spine Center sees approximately 3,000 new patients each year.  Over 1,400 surgical cases are performed each year at the center.  Each fellow participates in 40-60 procedures per month.  There are three operating rooms dedicated to spine surgeries on a daily basis.

Frequently performed procedures include:  lumbar discectomy, lumbar laminectomy, lumbar disc replacement, ALIF’s, PLIF’s, TLIF’s, lateral lumbar fusions, vertebral resections, thoracic & lumbar osteotomies, complex scoliosis surgery, structure sparing & minimally invasive decompression instrumented fusions.  Cervical procedures include ACDF’s, cervical disc replacement, ant-post reconstructions, cervical laminoplasties, occipital-cervical, C1/C2 posterior instrumented fusions.  Our surgeons perform all their own anterior and thoracic approaches. Most recently, our center has begun performing minimally invasive endoscopic discectomies.

Fellows also have an opportunity to participate in medical mission trips for two weeks to India where they perform deformity surgeries on adults and pediatric patients.

Our large volume of cases will allow the fellow to choose a particular area of interest such as cervical or deformity, etc. to better focus one’s skills.  Our focus is on education and clinical skills.  We have 5 spine PA’s to manage post-op patient care and have a dedicated hospitalist service who sees every spine patient post-operatively, takes all evening call including weekends, and primarily admits transfer patients 24/7.  Kaiser’s vast resources and electronic medical records allow for easy and thorough access to a patient’s medical history and imaging.

Kaiser Permanente East Bay boasts one of the most culturally and socioeconomically diverse patient populations in the United States, and care is provided within a truly integrated system that places high value on efficiency, innovation, consistency of clinical outcomes, and patients’ ease of access to care.

Research is also emphasized.  Kaiser Permanente has a robust spine registry which allows an unprecedented access to large volumes of cases efficiently.  Each fellow is required to complete at least one clinical research project suitable for presentation or publication.  The fellow is also responsible for a journal club/ education series that meets monthly during the entire fellowship.

The duration of the fellowship is one year, beginning on August 1st and concluding on July 31st of the following year.  All candidates must be board-eligible in orthopaedic surgery or neurosurgery and have a California medical license by August 1st of the fellowship year.  Applications for fellowships must be submitted through SF Match.

Clinical Experience

Percent of Fellowship devoted to Operative Care: 70%
Non-Operative Care: 20%
Research/Publication: 10%

Approximate percentage of exposure to the Spine by region:
Cervical: 30%
Thoracic: 10%
Lumbar: 60%

Approximate percentage of Fellowship exposure to the Spine by diagnostic category:
Degenerative: 60%
Trauma: 5%
Deformity: 20%
Tumor: 5%
Pediatric: 10%

Education and Conferences

Pediatric Neurosurgery/ Orthopedic Spine Case Review – Monthly
CME – Various topics presented by faculty
M&M (Morbidity and Mortality) – Monthly
Spinal Deformity Conference – Monthly
Operating Team Meeting – Monthly

Medical Missions

Fellows have an opportunity to participate in medical mission trips for two weeks to India where they perform deformity surgeries on adults and pediatric patients.

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