The Hand Surgery Fellowship of the Massachusetts General Hospital is the confluence of two great traditions: The Orthopedic Hand Fellowship of Richard Smith, MD and the Plastics Hand Fellowship of James May, MD.

In 2007, the two fellowships merged into a combined Orthopedic and Plastics Hand Fellowship to provide an even more comprehensive service.

The Hand Surgery Fellowship at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery of the Massachusetts General Hospital was founded in the mid 1970's by Dr. Smith. The fellowship evolved by Dr. Smith to be an integral part of, not only in the management of patients with musculoskeletal problems of the hand and upper limb, but also as part of the Orthopaedic residency program. The fellowship has been structured to provide a broad clinical exposure to upper extremity problems, a graded responsibility in the management of these problems, and an expansive educational experience in producing high quality academic and scholarly activities. Initially, the fellowship consisted of one fellow, however, in 1980 the program was expanded to two fellows per year. Currently, we train three fellows each year.

Dr. Smith's untimely death led to a search for an individual of equal stature, and Richard Gelberman, MD came toward the end of the 1980's. Dr. Gelberman brought continued enthusiasm and energy toward maintaining the fellowship as a premier academic program. With Dr. Gelberman's move to lead the Department of Orthopaedics at the Washington University in St. Louis, the torch was passed on to Jesse Jupiter, MD. Dr Jupiter was on staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital from 1981-2020. He served as the Chief of the Hand & Arm Service for many years, and he is the Hansjörg Wyss/AO Emeritus Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Jupiter was the Fellowship Program Director until 2002 when Sang-Gil Lee, MD took over. Dr. Lee served as the Program Director until 2009 when Chaitanya Mudgal, MD became the Program Director. Dr. Mudgal served as Director until 2015 when Neal Chen, MD became Director.