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Orthopedic Surgery Residency trainee uses a drill in the classroom

Clinical training and experience in the field

The five-year Orthopedic Surgery Residency includes didactic and research training, along with extensive clinical experience. You gradually assume increasing responsibility for patient care and participate in trauma management throughout the entire residency.

Your clinical training covers all subspecialty areas of orthopedics, including:

  • Adult reconstruction and knee surgery
  • Foot and ankle surgery
  • Hand surgery
  • Microvascular surgery
  • Orthopedic oncology
  • Orthopedic trauma
  • Pediatric orthopedics
  • Shoulder and elbow reconstruction
  • Spine surgery
  • Sports medicine

During your residency, you serve as a team physician for one of the local high schools or the junior college. You participate in all aspects of care for the athletes, including pre-participation examination, training, decision-making about continuing play, evaluation and treatment of injuries, and rehabilitation.

Call frequency

Your call schedule varies by rotation. Mayo Clinic follows the schedule recommendations of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Mayo Clinic Orthopedic Surgery Podcast

Mayo Clinic Orthopedic Surgery podcast

Check out our podcast for an inside look into Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgery, hosted by Jon Barlow, M.D., residency program director.

Listen to the latest episode

Didactic training

Clinical conferences, seminars, small discussion groups, journal clubs, and one-on-one instruction are an integral part of the Orthopedic Surgery Residency. You’re encouraged to attend four or more of the 14 orthopedic conferences that are available for residents each week.

The weekly Tuesday morning conference is largely regarded throughout Mayo Clinic, and external to Mayo Clinic, as the quintessential example of didactic learning. Each conference starts with a 15-minute lecture provided by one of the renowned faculty, followed by 45 minutes of case presentations from the residents and fellows. There is nearly 100% participation from the faculty on a weekly basis. Moreover, a hip and knee arthroplasty journal club is held quarterly at one of the faculty member’s houses, and quarterly cadaver labs are organized for the residents and fellows.

Visiting professors

Many prominent professors visit Mayo Clinic each year. They present their work during lectures and case-based discussions. You’re encouraged to take full advantage of these opportunities.

Advisers and mentors

Mayo’s mentorship model is commonly cited by residents as one of the top reasons they chose this program, and by alumni as one of the things they appreciated most about their training experience.

In this model, you’re paired with a consultant surgeon for each rotation. You keep the same clinical and operative schedule as the surgeon, working one-on-one with him or her for the duration of each rotation (typically 13 weeks). Not only does this provide you with the best training experience, but it also facilitates more rapid advancement of surgical skills during a rotation and a higher ceiling for learning. It also allows you to develop more meaningful and lasting relationships between other residents and staff.


To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop your technical skills, your performance is monitored carefully during the course of the Orthopedic Surgery Residency. You’re evaluated formally by your supervising faculty member after each clinical rotation. In addition, you regularly evaluate the faculty to ensure that your educational needs are being met.