Hand fellows are given the opportunity to join any hand or upper extremity case on the plastic surgery schedule. This is a fluid operating schedule that allows fellows to see any and all cases that would be beneficial for learning and technical practice.
The SIU Plastic Surgery Division of Plastic Surgery covers two hospitals, Memorial Medical Center and St. John’s Hospital, both of which are Level I Trauma Centers.
Working at two Level I Trauma Centers allows our fellows to gain experience in traumatic hand and upper extremity injuries and microsurgical techniques as related to re-vascularization, replantation, management of the mangled hand and upper extremity, and peripheral nerve injury. Memorial Medical Center is our Regional Burn Center, where fellows gain experience with the management of burns to the hands.
With regard to elective cases, our fellows learn peripheral nerve surgery from the neck to the hand, evaluation and management of wrist pain, soft tissue coverage of the upper extremity, bone and joint disorders of the upper extremity, and congenital hand problems. St. John’s Hospital is our regional pediatric hospital.
The hand fellow is expected to cover at least one full clinic with a hand faculty member per week. Fellows also participate in the monthly Brachial Plexus and Tetraplegia Clinic, where they are exposed to less compressive neuropathies like thoracic outlet syndrome, suprascapular nerve impingement, and piriformis syndrome.
Hand Fellow clinic
There is a weekly Hand Fellow Clinic that is run by the Hand Fellow and overseen by the various faculty. This affords our hand fellows the autonomy to further develop their clinical skills with regard to preoperative evaluation, surgical planning, and post-operative care and protocols.
We work closely with our knowledgeable Hand Therapists during clinic times. The Hand Therapy Center is one hallway away and offers a multitude of therapies for various injuries and post-operative care as well as testing services for nerve compression problems, such as thoracic outlet syndrome. Our hand therapists are an invaluable part of hand surgery training.
Donna Canavan, ORT/L, CHT Wendy Gerger, OTR/L
Fellows are expected to follow any patients in whose care they participated, especially operative care.
The SIU Plastic Surgery Program takes 80-90% of hand calls in Springfield and surrounding areas.
The hand fellow may take primary or backup hand calls throughout the year, depending on how much primary hand call experience the fellow has had prior to starting fellowship. This will be determined at the beginning of the academic year.
The residents have a night float system; hand fellows are not required to take call at night, but they are welcome to participate in any night cases to optimize his/her experience, provided the work hour stipulations are met (i.e. an average of less than 80 hours and one day off in 7 days).
Congenital hand rotation
We are currently organizing the implementation of a new out-of-state Congenital Hand Rotation for our hand fellows to provide more experience with congenital hand deformities and treatments. Our goal is to implement this curriculum during the 2021-2022 academic year. More information will be added as details are solidified.
SIU’s Hand Fellowship supports fellows who are interested in international outreach mission opportunities, such as Touching Hands. If there is interest, such a mission would be organized with the fellowship program director, Dr. Brian Mailey.