Spine Fellowship Curriculum

The Spinal Surgery Fellowship Program provides a comprehensive, well-rounded, educational environment for training of fellows to diagnose and manage disorders of the spine.

With six attending physicians, whose practices are focused on spinal problems in adults and adolescents, the fellows participate in the care of:

  • Degenerative cervical and lumbar disc disease
  • Spinal trauma
  • Spine tumors (primary, metastatic and intradural)
  • Spinal deformity in adult and pediatric patients
  • Metabolic bone disease
  • Spinal infections
  • Congenital spinal anomalies
  • Failed back syndrome
  • Minimally invasive spinal surgery


The Spinal Surgery Fellowship Program consists of monthly rotations among the reading faculty and two months of dedicated research time.

The clinical educational program is coordinated through faculty interaction, didactic lectures, conferences and outpatient clinics that emphasize diagnosis, pathogenesis, operative and nonoperative decision-making, along with results and complications of all treatments.

The outpatient clinics of the program occurs at the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center, located in the Mark Goodson Building.

The center fully supports the attendance of the fellows at one national meeting during their fellowship. The choices of annual meetings are those of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Cervical Spine Research Society, North American Spine Society, Scoliosis Research Society, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and Joint Section of the Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves. Additionally, there may be an opportunity to attend another meeting with the availability of the sponsorship.

Cedars-Sinai also sponsors and offers ongoing education in E & M coding, ethics, ACLS and medico-legal issues.


Spine Conference Lecture Series

The Spine Conference is held every Wednesday at 7 a.m. with presentations by the spine fellows with faculty mentors on all aspects of spine topics. The spine conferences provide lecture and case studies on spine-related topics relevant to spine surgeons, fellows, neuroradiologists, physical therapists, psychiatrists, anesthesiologists and other healthcare professionals interested in spinal care. This activity is essential for the teaching of the spine fellows and provides a format to discuss specific cases that have relevance to spine care providers.

The spine conference consists of three components:

  • Case presentations. This conference topic is held the second Wednesday of every month. Each fellow will present unique and interesting cases relating to the spine.
  • Core curriculum lectures. This conference is held one Wednesday a month. The fellow is given a list of core curriculum topics and will select two to three topics on which to prepare a didactic presentation.
  • Current Concepts in Spinal Disorders Clinical Symposia series. This consists of lectures on spinal disorders and treatments by invited speakers as well as members and associates of the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center.

Quality Assurance Conference

This conference is held every two months during the Wednesday Spine Conferences. Cases are independently submitted by the fellows to the directors, who in turn select the cases to be presented. The conference is moderated by one of the directors.

Journal Club

Journal Club is held monthly, hosted by a teaching faculty member and attended by faculty and fellows. The topics are selected by the attending physician and articles are assigned to each fellow. The fellows discuss the the content, scientific method and conclusions of the articles.


Research is a vital component of the fellowship. The Cedars-Sinai Spine Center provides facilities and support personnel, including technicians and statisticians, with clinical supervisory support available through the department faculty. Fellow research has been presented at national and international meetings and also has been published in all major orthopedic and neurosurgical peer-reviewed journals. All fellows are required to participate in research projects as a condition of graduation.

Fellows work in a state-of-the-art biomechanical laboratory for spinal biomechanics research.  We are at the forefront of biomechanical research and testing with one of the most comprehensive labs in the country. In conjunction with our basic science endeavors the center is also intimately involved with several biotechnology companies that fund several active clinical research projects.

Current research studies are:

  • Comparison of biomechanical stability and facet strain of laminectomy, laminectomy with fusion, laminoplasty
  • The addition of a cross-link to the C1 lateral mass/C2 pedicle screw fixation construct: a biomechanical study
  • Mechanical evaluation of dynamic stabilization spinal systems
  • Static multiaxial testing of implanted human lumbar disc
  • Nuclear regeneration
  • Mechanical evaluation of adjacent level pressures in the Charite disc prothesis