Fellowship in France: An Experience of a Lifetime

Many people have events that change them. For me, it was a fellowship in Lyon, France.

Reflecting on the flight over to Lyon, I kept second guessing my decision to leave my family as I embarked on even more training. At that time, I had no idea what an incredible experience this fellowship would be, both personally and professionally.

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The fellowship training surpassed my highest expectations. I learned so much about the shoulder and gained fresh perspectives on the treatment of internal impingement, instability, rotator cuff disease and arthritis. I was fortunate to participate in interesting research projects that are changing the way we understand disease processes of the shoulder. I saw new implants and software that have not yet been released in the US and participated in difficult shoulder surgeries. I gained experience in procedures that we don’t traditionally perform in the US, such as Latarjet, and learned tips and tricks both in the clinic and operating room.

Most of my time was spent with Dr. Gilles Walch, Dr. Lionel Neyton, and Dr. Bertrand Sonnery-Cottet. Dr. Walch might be the most accomplished orthopedic surgeon in the world. With hundreds of publications and accomplishments, he is also one of the nicest, most generous human beings I have ever met. He has visitors from all over the world every week to watch him perform surgery. There were multiple days when I was operating with him where he had 5-6 visitors from 3 or 4 different countries. He answered questions with patience and treated people like family. Dr. Neyton was incredible to work with as he is pushing the limits of arthroscopic shoulder surgery. I learned so many new shoulder techniques and procedures. It was a bonus that I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Bertrand Sonnery-Cottet. He is both brilliant and daring. He strictly does lower limb orthopedic surgery, especially knee ligament injuries, and is a pioneer in ACL and ALL surgery. He was kind enough to introduce me to rugby, and going to a couple of the games was such an experience.

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On top of the professional fellowship experience, I quickly learned that Lyon is an amazing city. The history, culture, food, wine, scenery, ease of transportation, and the rivers; it is absolutely beautiful and full of character. From the top of the Basilica looking down around the town to the incredible mosaics in, of all places, a subway station, Lyon for me has it all. If you are going to France, make a stop in Lyon, even if it is just for lunch.

This fellowship in France proved to be not only memorable but it solidified my love for my orthopedic profession. It reinforced the importance of appreciating new and differing perspectives, the need and benefit of being an active researcher, and most importantly, that my family is the most important thing to me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn from the best surgeons in the world.


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