Hand and Upper Extremity

The fellowship at the University of Chicago was begun by Daniel P. Mass, MD, who created the fellowship as an educational opportunity and a way to share the incredible clinical resources available for teaching at the University of Chicago. In 2009, the University of Chicago began a clinical and educational collaboration with NorthShore University Hospital, and the fellows began working with fellowship-trained hand surgeons at NSUH. The fellowship principles remain focused on education, critical thinking, experiential learning, and robust clinical experience. The Combined Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship at the University of Chicago is an ACGME accredited fellowship that accepts two (2) fellows per academic year.

Faculty – University of Chicago

Faculty – North Shore University Health System


Fellows spend six months each at the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) and six months at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NSUH); split into three-month blocks.

At the University of Chicago, fellows rotate on each of two teams for six weeks, then switch. Teams are made up of 2-3 attendings, 2 residents, and a fellow; assignments are made in the effort to avoid impacting learners’ educational experiences and to maximize exposure to clinical issues such as complex trauma, microsurgery, congenital hand problems, and brachial plexus reconstruction. UCM sample schedule

At NorthShore, fellows work with all of the attendings each week, according to the schedule which incorporates time in the OR and clinic. This provides a broad exposure to a community-based practice with high volumes and clinical variety. NS sample schedule


There is a weekly hand conference with a published list of topics, held on Friday mornings, which is attended by all attendings, fellows (NS via teleconference), and residents. Topics include lectures on pain management, anesthesia, EMG, prosthetics, and occupational therapy. Friday AM Didactics sample schedule

On Monday mornings, there is a fellow-specific conference covering classic articles drawn from Peter Stern’s curriculum.

Fellows are expected to attend Grand Rounds when an upper extremity topic is presented. Grand Rounds are held weekly on Wednesday mornings.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there are indications and specialty-specific didactic topics; again, when these involve hand-related issues, fellows are expected to attend. Fellows also present talks during this time.

Fellowship Experience


The fellows attend a week-long microvascular course at Mayo Clinic in August.

Both clinical sites are replantation centers and the fellows will be involved on call. Additionally, free and pedicled flap experience, as well as brachial plexus surgery, are part of the clinical program at the University of Chicago site and the fellows participate in these surgeries.

Pediatric/Congenital Hand Surgery

Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago Medicine is a major referral center as well as a Level I Trauma Center for pediatrics. The fellows are exposed to both reconstructive and post-trauma surgical management.

Shoulder and Elbow

Several members of the upper extremity service at the University of Chicago are active in shoulder and elbow reconstruction, including reverse total shoulder arthroplasty, arthroscopy, rotator cuff repair, total elbow replacement, and biceps repair.

International Service

Dr. Mass has a long-term service relationship with a hospital in Peru, and takes both fellows for two weeks in December to perform humanitarian work in hand surgery, including clinical evaluation and surgical treatment. This is an intense experience encompassing surgical judgment, surgical planning, and the challenges and rewards of international care.


The hand surgery fellows cover call at their assigned site during each three-month block. Currently, fellows are each assigned one weekend a month. The orthopaedic or plastic surgery residents on call for hand serve as the primary call contact, and fellow call is taken from home. Fellows are expected to be involved in the care of hand consults in the Emergency Department as needed, and to lead the surgical treatment of those patients requiring urgent operative care. Additionally, fellows are a part of the care for inpatient hand surgery cases and are responsible, with the hand surgery resident team, for their care.


Microsurgery course – Mayo clinic – August of each year
American Society for Surgery of the Hand Annual Meeting – Fall of each year
Peru – international service trip – December of each year


The hand division is active in clinical and basic science research and multiple projects are ongoing. It is expected that each fellow perform a research project, to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal by the end of the fellowship.


The University of Chicago Hospital is a level I pediatric trauma center and is level II for adult trauma; the medical center is in the process of building a new trauma center and will transition to level I adult status. The philosophy of the program is to provide excellent exposure to elective reconstructive cases, while allowing the fellows ample time to study and participate in research. NSUH is a multi-specialty research and healthcare organization with 908 beds distributed across four hospitals. NorthShore University HealthSystem is a level I adult trauma center. The affiliation with NorthShore offers our fellows exposure to a broader array of clinical pathology, a diverse patient population, and new operational technologies in a suburban, community-based, teaching hospital system.

How To Apply

Our Orthopaedic Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship program participates in the NRMP. Applications for the 2020-2021 academic year should be submitted through the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) Fellowship System by December 15th:


Invitations for interviews will be sent in late December with the interviews to take place in February.

To contact our Education Administrator, Annie Detrick, please call 773.834.2858 or email adetrick@bsd.uchicago.edu.

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