Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship

Developing Experts in Treating Elbows, Hands, Shoulders and Wrists

When you become a hand and upper extremity fellow at Vanderbilt Medical Center, you join a unique orthopedic surgery program. We take pride in providing a comprehensive experience that includes training for conditions from the hand to the shoulder. 

Our program was designed to provide you with clinical, surgical and research experiences that lead to an in-depth understanding of all hand and upper extremity conditions, working with a diverse population of patients. Our hand fellows are frequently involved in 800 to 1000 cases during their fellowship year. 

What We Do Here Every Year


Program Overview

Positions: 2 fellows
Interview dates: December – March (most interview days are between December and January)
Duration: 1 year
Stipend: PGY6 level
Call: 4-6 call nights per month with assigned hand attending
Location: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt Surgery Center, Belle Meade Surgery Center

As our fellow, you will work closely with surgeons and faculty from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, where we treat both adults and children. Our fellowship focuses on all aspects of hand and upper extremity surgery, including:

  • Brachial plexus surgery
  • Congenital hand conditions
  • Dupuytren's contracture
  • Elbow surgery 
  • FLAP surgery
  • Microsurgery
  • Nerve repair
  • Neurological conditions
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post-traumatic surgery
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Replantation
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Shoulder surgery
  • Trauma surgery
  • Upper extremity arthroscopy
  • Wrist surgery

As a part of your studies, you will also:

  • Complete a research project for publication
  • Gain exposure to the surgical treatment of hand and upper extremity conditions
  • Keep a case log
  • Participate in the non-operative, pre-operative, operative, and post-operative management of outpatients and inpatients

Clinical Program

Currently, there are two hand and upper extremity fellows per year. 

There are four orthopaedic hand attendings on the service. There is a PGY-4 and a PGY-2 orthopaedic residents on the service.

There is a one-one rotation monthly calendar, where the hand fellow is orthopaedic resident is assigned to one of the four attendings. Our fellows care for and manage the attending hand surgeon's patients. You will also be expected to present lectures and teach our residents.

Surgical Experience

To learn all aspects of the hand and upper extremity subspecialty, you will rotate with each attending surgeon for one month to gain experience in managing conditions related to the hand to the shoulder.

Research Program

During the program, you will complete a research project of your choice and can assist faculty with ongoing research efforts. One publication level manuscript (research project, book chapter) is required.

Our current research opportunities include:

  • Comparing the bilateral carpal vs. unilateral carpal tunnel
  • Nerve studies
  • Radiohead replacement arthroplasty

Conferences and Workshops

Fellows complete a rigorous weekly, biweekly, and monthly schedule of conferences and workshops.

Weekly Conferences

Monday AM Bi-weekly Hand and Upper Extremity Didactic Conference with Orthopaedic Residents
(Alternates with pre-operative case conference)
(7 a.m.)
The fellows prepare and present on assigned topics and listen to presentations from attending surgeons and faculty. Faculty provides discussion.

Alternating Mondays: Pre-Operative Case Conference
(Alternates with didactic conference)
(6 a.m.)
Fellows, residents, and faculty review the operative cases for the week.

Weekly Friday Post-Operative Case Conferences
(6 a.m.)
Fellows, residents, and faculty review the week’s completed cases.

Friday Anatomy Dissection
(6 a.m.)
Periodic hand and arm cadaveric arm dissections in anatomy lab

Monthly Journal Club
Our hand and upper extremity journal club meets with the Department of Orthopaedics Journal club. Fellows select topics, perform a literature search, and lead a discussion. 

Application Process

At Vanderbilt, we use the American Society for Surgery of the Hand universal application. Applicants must first complete an accredited orthopedic surgery residency program.

To apply, you’ll need:

  • A completed Universal Hand Surgery Application
  • Medical school transcript 
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • USMLE Scores
  • Your current CV
  • Your photo

Send your materials to:

Mihir J. Desai, M.D.
Hand Fellowship Program Director
Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute
1215 21st Ave. South, MCE South Tower, Suite 3200
Nashville, TN 37232-8828

For more information about our fellowship program, contact Karen Shelton, program coordinator, at karen.shelton@vumc.org.

We conduct interviews between mid-January and March. Check back soon for specific dates.


Our fellows enjoy life in Nashville and additional educational opportunities, such as:

  • 24/7 exercise facility (free weight/aerobics) within our orthopedic surgery department
  • Attendance at the American Society for Surgery of the Hand annual meeting or American Academy of Orthopaedic Annual Meeting
  • Attendance at a weeklong microsurgery conference at Columbia University in New York City or other acceptable location
  • Office desk with computer and workspace
  • Readily available orthopedic anatomy cadaver lab on the medical campus
  • Stipend for books or medical device (if not used for expenses)

    Our Fellows

    Jeremy Adler

    Jeremy Adler, MD
    Hometown: Cleveland, OH
    Undergrad: University of Wisconsin - Madison
    Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine
    Residency: University of Chicago

    Andrew Lee

    Andrew Lee, MD
    Hometown: Bethesda, MD
    Undergrad: University of Pennsylvania
    Medical School: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
    Residency: University of Buffalo




    Our past fellows include:

    • David Matson, MD
    • Stephanie Merimee, MD
    • John Yanik, MD, EmergeOrtho, Blue Ridge Region, Ashville, North Carolina (2021-2022)
    • Jonathan Yu, MD, Sportsmed Orthopaedic Surgery and Spine Center 4715 Whitesburg Dr. Huntsville, AL 35802 (2020-2021)
    • Michael “Derek” Vaughn, MD, Bellin Health Titletown Sports, Green Bay, WI (2019-2020)
    • Paul Hovis, MD, Baylor Scott & White Health, Arlington, TX (2018-2019)
    • Erich Gauger, MD, Allina Health Orthopaedics, Coon Rapids, MN (2017-2018)
    • Ashton Mansour, MD, Assistant Professor,  McGovern Medical School University of Texas, Houston, TX (2016-2017)
    • Andy Taiber, MD, The Orthopaedic Surgeons Clinic, Liberty, MO (2015-2016)
    • Sid Baucom, MD, Intermountian Orthopaedics, Salt Lake City, Utah (2014-2015)
    • Kathleen McKeon, MD, Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, Birmingham, AL (2013-2014)
    • Grant Lohse, MD, Proliance Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, Issaquah, WA (2012-2013)
    • Nicholas Pappas, MD, Hand Center of Louisiana, Metairie, LA (2011-2012)
    • David Katz, MD, Athens Orthopaedics, Athens, GA (2010-2011)
    • John Erickson, MD, Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center, Raleigh, NC (2009-2010)
    • Michael Davis, MD, Riverside Regional Medical Center, Hampton, VA (2008-2009)
    • John Mowbray, MD, Resurgeons Orthopaedics, Roswell, GA (2007- 2008)
    • Christopher Tuohy, MD, Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC (2006-2007)


    • Recent research publications from our fellows include:

      • Surgical Techiques. (Chapter 7). Shoulder Arthroplasty Monograph. Tuohy, C, Lee D.H., American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
      • Hand and Body Radiation Exposure with the use of mini-C arm fluoroscopy.  American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, March 6, 2008 (presented by Chris Tuohy, MD)
      • Hand and body radiation exposure with the use of mini C-arm fluoroscopy. Tuohy CJ, Weikert DR, Watson JT, Lee DH.  J. Hand Surgery AM
      • Reliability and accuracy of templating humeral and ulnar components for total elbow arthroplasty. Pappas ND, Watson JT, Erickson JM, Baldwin KD, Lee DH. AM J Ortho
      • Perilunate Injuries. Pappas ND 3rd, Lee DH. AM J Ortho Medical malpractice in hand surgery. Pappas ND, Moat D, Lee DH. J. Hand Surgery 
      • Hepatitis C and the hand surgeon: what you should know. Pappas N, Lee DH. Journal of Hand Surgery AM
      • Drill and Fill Technique for the Treatment of Scaphoid Delayed Unions and Nonunions. Lee DS, Lee DT, Uppuganti S, Perrien DS, Pappas ND 3rd, Reasoner K, Lee DH. J. Wrist Surgery
      • Irreducible posterolateral elbow dislocation. Atkinson CT, Pappas ND, Lee DH. AM J. Orth
      • Prevalence of labral tears in the elderly. Pappas ND, Hall DC, Lee DH J. Shoulder & Elbow Surgery
      • Incidence and reasons for hardware removal following operative fixation of distal radius fractures. Snoddy MC, An TJ, Hooe BS, Kay HF, Lee DH, Pappas ND.  J. Hand Surgery AM.
      • Factors influencing infection rates after open fractures of the radius and/or ulna. Zumsteg JW, Molina CS, Lee DH, Pappas ND.  J. Hand Surgery AM
      • The most cited articles in hand surgery over the past 20-plus years: a modern-day reading list. To P, Atkinson CT, Lee DH, Pappas ND J. Hand Surgery AM
      • Muscle transfer to restore elbow flexion. Lohse GR, Lee DH, Watson JT.  J. Hand Surg.
      • Clavicle fracture with intrathoracic displacement. Lohse GR, Lee DH. Orthopaedics
      • Posttraumatic Boutonnière and Swan Neck Deformities. McKeon KE, Lee DH. J AM Acad Ortho Surgery
      • Accuracy of MRI-based Diagnoses for Distal Upper Extremity Soft Tissue Masses. McKeon KE, Wright BT, Lee DH. J. hand surgery
      • Opioid Use After Upper Extremity Surgery. Gauger EM, Gauger EJ, Desai MJ, Lee DH. Journal of Hand Surgery
      • Electrical Injuries of the Hand and Upper Extremity. Lee DH, Desai MJ, Gauger EM. J AM Acad Ortho Surgery
      • Failed Extensor Tendon Repairs: Extensor Tenolysis and Reconstruction. Desai MJ, Wanner JP, Lee DH, Gauger EM. J AM Acad Ortho Surgery   
      • Acute-Phase Reactants in Operatively Treated Upper Extremity Infections: A Retrospective Review. Gauger EM, Mitchell PM, Halverson SJ, O'Neill DE, Reasoner K, Desai MJ, Lee DH. Hand (N.Y.)
      • Fingertip Injury and Management. Golinvaux NS, Maslow JI, Hovis JP, Lee DH. JBJS