Fellowship overview

Complex and minimally invasive spine fellows are trained for all spinal diseases. A special emphasis is placed on open and MIS adult spinal deformity and complex reconstructive spine surgery. Conditions treated include but are not limited to congenital and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, adult degenerative kyphoscoliosis, iatrogenic or postoperative deformity, and complex cervical deformity. However, all disorders of the craniocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spine are treated. Ample exposure is also given to degenerative conditions, tumors of the spine and spinal cord, infection, congenital spinal disorders, trauma, and inflammatory disorders. Fellows will also gain experience performing endoscopic procedures during the fellowship.

Neurosurgical complex spine surgeons have busy spine practices covering the entire range of disorders of the spine and spinal cord. Approximately 1,200 to 1,500 spine cases are performed annually within the Spine Division, with more than 1,300 new outpatient consults seen each year. Because Washington University receives many tertiary referrals, fellows see a myriad rare pathology. The option for additional training in neurotrauma and critical care is available. Individuals completing the fellowship will be well-suited for a career in academic spine surgery with the ability to perform procedures at a high level of competency in an autonomous fashion.


1 year


July 1 through June 30


PGY-8 with additional research funding opportunities

Academic spine & translational research

The amount of time dedicated for research is flexible. The fellow is funded for any society meetings in which research or data have been accepted for publication. Fellows will be encouraged and supported to engage on a national level with the academic spine community via annual conferences including, but not limited: Spine Summit and Scoliosis Research Society. Other opportunities for networking and research presentation include AANS, CNS, IMAST, CSRS, LSRS, SMISS, or the North American Spine Society.

Appropriate applications for the SRS North American Meeting Scholarship for Residents and Fellows will be supported. Fellows will have access to prospective spine registry to conduct research studies. Opportunities to collaborate with Washington University medical students and neurosurgery residents will be available. Fellows participating research will be well-suited for conducting independent studies and securing grant funding upon completion of the fellowship. 

Teaching experience

Combined neurosurgical and orthopedic spine conferences are held routinely, and a spine fellow teaching seminar occurs once a week. Discussion and didactic lectures are provided to the fellows and spine residents to discuss complex cases and ongoing research. The Neurological Surgery department enjoys an excellent relationship with orthopedic spine faculty members, with shared fellow education.

A cadaveric anatomy lab is available for use by the fellow. Didactic training conferences, seminars, journal clubs, cadaver courses, and one-on-one instruction are an important part of both residency and fellowship education at Washington University in St. Louis. The fellow will be expected to participate in this didactic training while also teaching junior residents. There are several one-hour conferences each week and one monthly multidisciplinary conference that includes neurosurgery and orthopedics. Additional didactics that are available, but not required, include: core curriculum didactic lectures, preoperative conferences, journal club, and M&M conferences. Opportunities will be made available for fellows to participate in national fellow-centered courses as well.

Neurotrauma & critical care

Fellows will have the option of a concentration in neurotrauma and critical care. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is a nationally certified Level 1 Trauma center. It is one of the busiest trauma centers in the region with 13,000 trauma patients each year. The fellows will work closely with Neurological Surgery and Critical Care faculty and receive multidisciplinary training for the surgical and medical management of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. Translational neurotrauma research opportunities with exposure to clinical trials are also available to fellows. 

Application requirements

The fellow is a member of the Neurological Surgery faculty at Washington University School of Medicine. All fellows within Neurological Surgery must be eligible for work within the United States as well as a permanent Missouri medical license and DEA license. Interested applicants should apply by sending a cover letter and curriculum vitae.

Contact information

Kayla Zoschg

Manager of Education Services