The Brazilian & Argentinian Visiting Fellowship is an initiative between EFORT Foundation and the Brazilian Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology and the Argentinian Association for Orthopaedics and Traumatology. Every year, the two organizations are requested to nominate one fellow each who will participate in the fellowship.
The two nominated fellows have an opportunity to choose to visit one of the recognized EFORT host centers in Europe. The EFORT Foundation provides a grant of EUR 4,000 to both accepted fellows.
Diego Rodriguez Hoya, MD, based in Argentina, had the opportunity to take part in the Brazilian & Argentinian Visiting Fellowship at Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute in Italy in the end of May 2018. He shared his experience, in a summarized version of his fellow’s report:
Before I start this report, I would like to thank the EFORT Foundation for giving me this incredible opportunity of doing a 4-week visiting fellowship in a renowned orthopaedic center in Europe. Also, I also must thank personally Stefano Zaffagnini, MD, for accepting me at Rizzoli Orthopeadic Institute in Bologna, giving me a high-quality and intensive educational experience that I will never forget. Last, but not least, I want to thank Sanni Hiltunen from EFORT Foundation for her diligence, prompt response and kindness in helping me with every doubt I had during the previous weeks to the fellowship.
I arrived in Bologna a few days before the onset date of my visiting fellowship to get used to the city where I was going to spend a month. The apartment that I rented was near the city’s historical center, close to the St. Orsola Hospital and only a 30-minute walk away from Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, through the beautiful Margarita Park.
Surgical activities at Rizzoli take part from Monday to Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to about 6:00 p.m., in nine different ORs. My main interest is knee arthroplasty (primary and revision), and there were a variety of these surgical procedures performed every day. During my stay, I mostly followed Zaffagnini and watched him and the rest of the staff perform surgeries, which included Drs. Romanoli, Mosca, Neri, Lopresti and Grasi, to mention a few. They were open to my questions and were clear in their explanations. I also had the chance to take part in a few procedures as second assistant with Zaffagnini and Mosca.
Learning from staff surgeons
Between procedures, I found the opportunity to discuss with the main staff surgeons about personal experience, surgical tips and strategies to address different pathologies useful. This highlighted their kindness and predisposition. Also, twice a week, I joined Zaffagnini at his office for his clinical practice at Codivila-Putti poly-ambulatory center, which is close to the main institute. It was interesting and enriching to watch Zaffagnini address knee pathologies and the diagnosis, as well as perform preoperative and postoperative patient management.
I could consult with him, and Zaffagnini was always kind in answering my questions and asking my opinions, in some cases. Overall, at the finish of my 4-week visiting fellowship, I was involved in more than 60 primary and revision knee procedures. I must mention that this was, without a doubt, the greatest opportunity in my career so far and gave me the chance not only to improve my knowledge about knee arthroplasty, but also to share my experience and make friends along the way. Even though it was a short-term visiting fellowship, it was intensive enough to gain experience, learn from top surgeons and definitely improve my daily practice.