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Hand Surgery Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Hand Surgery Fellowship

The Hand Surgery Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital provides a broad exposure to many aspects of problems in the hand and upper limbs, and provides a substantial amount of responsibility, while still emphasizing the academic aspects of the subspecialty.


Our fellowship provides a broad exposure to many aspects of problems in the hand and upper limbs, and provides a substantial amount of responsibility, while still emphasizing the academic aspects of the subspecialty. The fellow has a great opportunity to manage diverse clinical problems, but also the opportunity to pursue academic endeavors such as clinical and basic science research. The program is intended to attract individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in academic hand surgery.

To characterize the program's strengths, we feel they revolve around high patient volume, comprehensive exposure to all aspects of Hand Surgery, emphasis on the academic aspects of the subspecialty, integration with active and vibrant Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Occupational Therapy Departments at a major teaching hospital, and considerable independence within this framework.

In an effort to expand the quality and breadth of experience of the fellowship, the MGH Orthopaedic Hand fellowship partnered with the Hand Surgery fellowship at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Boston Childrens’ Hospital. The MGH Hand Fellow, who is trained in plastic surgery, partners with the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and Boston Childrens’ Hospital. This experience has proven priceless in expanding the exposure of cases, surgical techniques, and patient populations by incorporating the strengths of these other programs into the MGH experience.




Upon entering the Hand Surgery Fellowship, the hand surgery fellow is actively engaged in the activities of the hand surgical service in both outpatient, inpatient, operative, and emergent care of patients. During each week, each fellow follows his assigned attending’s schedule in the outpatient and operating room settings. Inpatient care of patients will be overseen by the fellow with the assistance of the residents.

In addition, the fellows take call as attending Hand Surgeons with the back-up support of the faculty. The call averages every third night. The Massachusetts General Hospital is a major referral center for Hand injuries and therefore sees a high volume of patients. The patients seen and treated on emergent basis additionally fall under the responsibility of the hand surgery fellows. Patients who are sent to the Massachusetts General Hospital are seen in the emergency room by an orthopedics or plastics resident as well as the hand fellow and a decision is made as to the nature of their problems, prioritizing their care, and executing what is necessary for the emergent care of these patients, falls under the responsibility of the hand surgical fellows. There is attending staff backup and coverage and this is extended based upon the needs and graded experience of the individual fellows. The nature of the emergent cases reflect all degrees of traumatic injuries to the upper limb. The fellows gain experience in management of bone, soft tissue, vascular, neurologic, and combined injuries. They additionally form a part of the trauma team's capacity to deal with musculoskeletal injuries more proximally in the upper limb. During the twelve months, they expand their experience and skills to become fully capable of managing nearly all types of emergent lesions of the hand and upper limb.

Clinical Experience

Fellows maintain their own clinic one half-day day per week. An attending is again available for consultation. The clinic will involve independent evaluation and management of problems related to the entire upper extremity including clinical evaluation, diagnostic interventions, decision-making, and operative and non-operative treatment. Fellows can schedule operative cases as the primary surgeon as necessary to treat their patients. The clinic is meant to function as the fellow’s own private hours.

Patients seen and treated as an inpatient in the hospital equally become a part of the hand surgical fellows' responsibilities. Patient management issues are monitored along with the residents, clinical decision making responsibilities also in a graded fashion are part of the hand surgical fellows experience, and medical and surgical problems that arise are discussed by the fellows between the residents and full time attending staff. The fellows additionally have direct responsibility of patients that they have seen and treated on an elective or emergent basis and entirely manage their care in the inpatient area along with the surgical residents.

All cases seen and treated on an operative basis have involvement of the hand surgery fellows; these include both those on elective as well as on an emergent basis. The fellows are responsible for coordinating the preoperative assessment, acquiring and organizing the needed instrumentation, and working with the residents as to the management of these operative procedures when there are ongoing emergencies, outpatient clinical responsibilities, or other activities that are simultaneously occurring. The fellows have an opportunity to be actively involved in all aspects of surgical care throughout the twelve months of their experience. As with non-operative management, there is a graded sense of responsibility as to the fellows' role of elective surgery as the goal is to endow in each hand surgery fellow a firm background and understanding of critical assessment and decision making as well as the performance of operative techniques.

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in our Hand Surgery Fellowship Program.

We are no longer accepting applications for 2016-2017. We will accept applications for 2017-2018 from September 1, 2015 - December 10, 2015. Please note: We do not accept candidates who have completed a general surgery residency.

Please complete the Universal Fellowship Applicationfound here.

With your application, please submit your curriculum vitae, a photograph, transcripts and three letters of recommendation (to be sent separately), one of which should be from the Chief of Service under whom you are currently training. All applications should be completed and received at the following address by December 10, 2015 in order to be considered for an interview:

Neal Chen, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
55 Fruit Street, Yawkey 2C
Boston, MA 02114

Interviews for 2017-2018 will take place on February 5, 2016.

This program participates in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). For an applicant agreement, please contact the NRMP at the following address:
National Residency Matching Program, 2450 North Street, NW, Suite 201, Washington DC 20037

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact: Dr. Chen via


Contact Us

Neal Chen, MD

Director, Hand Surgery Fellowship Program

55 Fruit Street, Yawkey 2C Boston, MA 02114

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