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Program Information

Our Complex and Minimally Invasive Spine Fellowship is unique in that it is a combined orthopedic spine and neurosurgical spine fellowship. There is a wide array of pathology giving a large and diverse perspective on spine management. The surgical volume is high.

Surgical Experience by Diagnostic Category
(Approximate Percentages)

  • 50% Degenerative
  • 25% Deformity
  • 15% Trauma
  • 10% Tumor

There is significant focus on teaching specific technical skills as well as consistency of performance in the operating room. In addition there is time spent with the staff in conferences, clinic, and in small groups regarding clinical decision-making. Expertise is gained in structured non-operative care.

Swedish offers one- and two-year fellowships that focus on advanced techniques in complex and minimally invasive spinal surgery that are used in the treatment of complex spinal disorders. The fellowship incorporates a wide range of techniques in complex spinal instrumentation, including treatment of cervical-medullary junction abnormalities, as well as posterior and anterior cervical, thoracic and lumbar instrumentation for fracture deformity and neoplasm. A significant number of procedures for intradural tumors are performed each year, including intra- and extramedullary tumors.

Other areas of instruction include spinal radiosurgery using CyberKnife; motion preservation techniques, including artificial disc surgery and trials on motion preservation devices; minimally invasive surgery of the cervical and lumbar spine; and kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty.

Additional surgical training is included at the Seattle Science Foundation, a state-of-the-art bioskills and tele-education center located immediately adjacent to the SNI outpatient clinic. At SSF, fellows have access to a skull base teaching laboratory and participate in ongoing hands-on courses in advanced skull-base surgical techniques. Training in stereotactic radiosurgery will occur at the Swedish Radiosurgery Center, one of the few facilities in the world to include side-by-side GammaKnife® and CyberKnife® devices.

Neurosurgeons at Swedish have access to the most advanced technologies and perform procedures in state-of-the-art operating and interventional suites.

An on-site practical laboratory is also available with a number of ongoing courses in spinal treatment.