The clinical track is entirely patient-based clinical training, including management of patient care, ablative and reconstructive surgery. Through our extensive surgical program, fellows have the opportunity to perform roughly 600 surgeries during their time with us. The division maintains a high volume of oncologic head and neck surgery for mucosal, cutaneous, salivary, thyroid, and skull base tumors. Fellows are expected to have a robust experience with Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS). Additionally, the division performs approximately 200 microvascular free tissue transfers for head and neck defects on an annual basis. Proficiency with microvascular reconstruction is an expectation for fellows. Fellows are expected to gain and experience comfort with flap harvest from donor sites, such as the anterolateral thigh, fibula, forearm, subscapular system, and others. Use of locoregional flaps for head and neck defects is also a major emphasis of the training.
Contributing to the multidisciplinary approach of patient care, fellows are expected to participate in medical oncology and radiation oncology clinics 6-8 days throughout their fellowship year. Once a month, each fellow will partake in clinic with that month’s assigned head and neck faculty. Once a week, fellows are to attend the Multidisciplinary Conference - tumor board. Other educational opportunities fellows are encouraged or required to attend include weekly Grand Rounds, bi-weekly Head and Neck Lecture Series, and bi-weekly Head and Neck Reconstructive Journal Club. Alongside increasing their knowledge, fellows will oversee, teach and mentor head and neck residents. Fellows also can look to Head and Neck faculty for mentorship, guidance and leadership.
Clinical instructors will have privileges at an array of UPMC hospitals, consisting of UPMC Presbyterian (including UPMC Montefiore), UPMC Shadyside (including UPMC Hillman Cancer Center), UPMC Mercy, and UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital of Pittsburgh. They’ll have the extended option to also have privileges at UPMC East, UPMC Passavant, and UPMC St. Margaret.
Fellows have access to the state-of-the-art CREATES laboratory, where they can hone their surgical robotic skills. The CREATES lab brings together physicians from UPMC, as well as engineers and researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, to support the growing industry in advanced surgical devices and systems. The CREATES lab also houses the da Vinci Surgical System®. UPMC has more da Vinci surgical robots and dual-console systems than any other medical center in North America. Dual consoles allow a team of surgeons to operate simultaneously, and to foster a truly comprehensive and collaborative approach to surgical care.