The Neurosurgical Peripheral Nerve and Spine Fellowship in the Department of Neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine is a CAST-accredited one-year intensive fellowship in the surgical and medical management of peripheral nerve and spinal disorders. This is a combined fellowship led by Wilson Z. Ray, MD, with the additional expertise of plastic surgeon Susan Mackinnon, MD, orthopedic hand surgeons David Brogan, MD, and Christopher Dy, MD.

The fellowship is a 12-month program with 3-month long rotations. The fellow will receive multidisciplinary exposure to peripheral nerve disorders by neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons, and orthopedic hand surgeons to develop well-rounded and comprehensive management skills both in and out of the operating room. The fellow will be integrated into the multidisciplinary approach to patient management and surgical care of peripheral nerve and spinal disorders. 

Spine rotations will be spent with the neurosurgery spine faculty. These rotations will be tailored to the fellow’s clinical interest in complex spine, focusing on spinal deformity and/or minimally invasive spine procedures. 

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. The fellow, when available, will be required to attend these conferences when on the appropriate service. Additional didactics that are available, but not required, include: core curriculum didactic lectures, preoperative conferences, journal club, and M&M conferences. There are occasions where the fellow will be asked to lead the resident conference and teaching of the junior residents.

Translational research training

There will be opportunity for additional translational research training. The fellow will meet with Dr. Ray to devise a plan for clinical and research endeavors and discuss opportunities for research in the various basic science labs. Potential mentors from both neurosurgery, plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, as well as basic science departments, will be reviewed with the fellow at that time. The fellow is expected to work with Washington University medical students and neurosurgery residents on these projects.

Clinical training

Washington University enjoys a wide range of clinical pathologies from both common-place carpal tunnel release to more unusual large brachial plexus reconstructions with nerve transfers and nerve grafting procedures. The fellow will have ample opportunity to participate in both inpatient and outpatient management of various nerve and spinal pathologies. At the conclusion of the fellowship, the fellow will have mastered patient selection in regard to surgical decision-making and the technical details of microsurgery and taking care of all peripheral nerve and spinal pathologies. 


Eligibility Criteria and Contact 

Applicants must be trainees in or graduates of an ACGME-approved neurosurgery residency training program and be able to meet the criteria for an unrestricted Missouri medical license. A personal visit to our department and an interview are required. Interested applicants should apply by sending a cover letter and curriculum vitae.

Kayla Zoschg

Neurosurgery Education Coordinator