Spine Surgery fellows working in the operating room at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Graduate medical education in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic

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The goal of the Spine Surgery Fellowship at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, is to provide board-eligible graduates of orthopedic surgery training programs with a well-rounded experience involving all aspects of spinal surgery.

As a fellow in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, you gain expertise in treating a wide range of spine pathology and performing a comprehensive array of surgical techniques, including anterior and posterior decompression, instrumentation, microsurgery, and minimally invasive surgery at all levels of the spine.

Clinical responsibilities are divided among seven orthopedic staff spinal surgeons. You participate in the preoperative assessment, surgical care, postoperative management, and follow-up evaluation of patients.

Clinical and basic science research opportunities are available. You are required to produce at least one peer-reviewed publication and participate in the design of a second project during your tenure. You also are expected to carry out a quality improvement project and actively participate in the education of residents. Fellows help to organize a weekly combined orthopedic/neurosurgery spine conference and may scrub with the spine surgeons in the Department of Neurosurgery on an ad hoc basis.

Video: Spine Surgery Fellowship Overview


Video: Spine Surgery Fellowship Overview


hospital in Minnesota and nationally recognized on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll (U.S. News, 2023-2024)

Spine Surgery fellow working on a computer in the OR at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Your training experience

As a fellow at Mayo Clinic, you'll have access to robust clinical, educational, and research resources. You'll find support both inside and outside of the campus to promote physical and mental wellness and ensure your work/life balance.

More about the curriculum

More about life as a fellow

Ahmad Nassr, M.D.

Director's welcome

Our program provides you with one-on-one mentorship as well as the flexibility to work with other staff members on interesting cases. Time for research is built into the schedule, and our exceptional resources provide limitless opportunities.

More from the program directors

See our graduate outcomes

Highlights of the fellowship include:

  • More than 300 cases per fellow. Fellows experience decompressions, fusions, osteotomies, and instrumentation throughout all regions of the spine and open and minimally invasive surgery.
  • AOSpine membership and sponsored trips. Trips include the introductory fellowship course in the fall, the Annual Fellows Forum in the spring, and one AOSpine North America (AOSNA) educational course of your choice.
  • Paid attendance trip. One trip per fellowship for attendance at a recognized society meeting, elective course, or workshop with Category 1 CME credit. Attendance trips are intended to introduce you to national experts and evolving concepts and technology at national society meetings and provide an opportunity for you to network and make contacts outside Mayo Clinic.
  • Paid presentation trips. These include up to five trips per fellowship and up to 18 trip days each academic year. The presentation must be given at a recognized society or association meeting or a workshop with Category 1 CME credit.
  • Vacation. Fellows receive 15 paid vacation days. Fellows may be reimbursed for up to five unused vacation days at the end of the fellowship. Up to three additional days may be utilized with pay for employment interviews (this includes Mayo Clinic sites).

A multitude of other resources are available to the fellows, including a state-of-the-art cadaver lab, and a simulation center.

Workstations to practice procedures and enhance skills with video capabilities to track progress, located at the Center for Procedural Skills Mastery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Virtual tour

Explore the Mayo Clinic Center for Procedural Skills Mastery at Mayo Clinic Hospital, St. Marys Campus in Rochester, Minnesota.

This fellowship is an AO Spine North America Designated Fellowship Site providing additional networking opportunities, free trips, academic resources, and all the benefits of being AO Spine Fellows.


The Spine Surgery Fellowship is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Program history

The Spine Surgery Fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, began in 1993. We anticipate that two trainees will complete this program annually.

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