Indiana Hand to Shoulder Fellowship program


A letter to our potential fellowship candidates:

We believe the formal education of a hand surgeon is a daunting task; the field is enormous, ranging from the fingertips, across the wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints, to the brachial plexus, bringing together all aspects of orthopedic, neurosurgery, and plastic surgery in this single, extremely important area of the body. We believe that the experience a fellow will receive during the very short 12-month training period is best supplied through a multidisciplinary approach, involving a healthy number of committed educators with varying specialty interests and expertise. The importance of this one year of fellowship training cannot be overstated.

We believe strongly the best postoperative training in hand surgery is provided from a private practice base. Each hand fellow begins his/her year of postgraduate training not as PGY-6 resident, but as an associate of Hand Surgery Associates of Indiana, Inc., our umbrella corporation.

The fellowship experience at Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center is contemporary. Not only is every fellow didactically instructed on the fine nuances of practical, clinical hand surgery, and rehabilitation, but also each is taught the spectrum of contemporary issues with which he/she must deal after completing the fellowship and joining an institutional or private hand surgery practice. Extensive lectures and experience, in addition to the spectrum of clinical responsibility our fellows have in helping manage the complexities of our busy hand practice, make our graduating hand fellows some of the best-prepared hand surgeons in the United States.


The Physicians of Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center




The Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons and Fellows are committed leaders in conducting and participating in clinical research programs related to all aspects of the entire upper extremity. Through these research efforts, we have been able to improve overall patient care as well as our clinical outcomes. Our surgeons and Fellows continually participate in the development and invention of new prosthetic devices, cutting-edge surgical techniques, and state-of-the-art treatment solutions.

Some of our research efforts include:

  • Development of elbow replacement
  • Assisting with development of new internal fixation devices for fracture care
  • Investigation of better options for treatment of wrist arthritis
  • Investigation of treatments for nerve compression syndromes
  • Participation in studies looking at new treatments for Dupuytren’s contracture
  • Assisting in developing devices used for treatment of radius fractures
  • Development of safer and more innovative uses of wrist arthroscopy
  • Evaluation of treatments for basilar thumb arthritis
  • Evaluation of treatments for tendon ruptures and repairs




Dedication to teaching and providing higher education to other physicians and healthcare professionals is the epicenter of Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s vision. Our multi-disciplinary postgraduate fellowship education program for hand and upper extremity is currently one of largest of its kind in the world.

Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center sponsors and conducts the Association for the Study of Internal Fixation Resident and Fellow Course in Indianapolis each year. This annual course is offered to our fellows, Indiana University School of Medicine residents and other individuals interested in internal screw and plate fixation of fractures in the hand and wrist.

For more than 20 years, we have been conducting “Hand Care: Clinical Approaches to Rehabilitation for the Upper Extremity,” a bi-annual meeting geared toward occupational therapists, physical therapists, physicians, and nurses with a special interest in hand rehabilitation. This national meeting is recognized as one of the leading hand therapy conferences in the country.

Our surgeons also regularly conduct continuing education workshops, seminars and cadaver labs for physicians, athletic trainers, EMTs, paramedics, and workers’ compensation professionals.

Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center (IHTSC) established the Ruth A. Lilly Library to support research and education relating to surgery and therapy of the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. The Library supports the clinical and research activities of the IHTSC physicians, fellows, orthopedic residents, therapists, nurses, as well as Indiana University School of Medicine students. It houses over 1,200 books pertaining to the upper extremities, microsurgery, plastic surgery, sports medicine, and general orthopedics. It also subscribes and provides online access to an array of specialized journals and books.

The Library has an online catalog that can be accessed from office or home.


About the Program


Since its inception in 1971, Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center has been committed to an academic tradition of providing the highest quality postgraduate fellowship education to surgeons from around the entire United States who have completed formal orthopedic, plastic, or general surgical training. These surgeons have elected to delay their own practice for an additional year, in order to expose themselves to intense training in the field of hand and upper extremity surgery.

Of the many applicants who apply each year for our 12-month fellowship positions, we select 6-7 to train. We have educated over 230 postgraduate surgeons, each of whom is board-eligible when he or she begins the year with us. These young men and women have gone on after the completion of their fellowship with us to disperse themselves nationwide throughout the full spectrum of academic and private practice.

During the program, each fellow completes a two month rotation with each Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center orthopedic surgeon. They practice in the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s state-of-the-art 40,000 square-foot facility that includes:

  • Three operating room suites
  • Two procedure rooms
  • Nerve block room
  • 18 exam rooms
  • X-ray
  • Occupational therapy department
  • Surgery videotaping suite
  • Anatomy lab

The fellows also collaborate individually with one of our surgeons to conduct an upper extremity surgery research project. Many of these projects have been published in peer-reviewed literature. Our fellows present their research findings at the annual Tri-State Conference along with other hand surgery fellows from Louisville and Cincinnati programs.


Current Fellows class


Kristin Buterbaugh, MD

Cody Hillin, MD

Lauren Karbach, MD

Kristen Ploetze, MD

Brock Reiter, MD

William Warrender, MD


More than 237 graduates from our fellowship program are practicing hand surgery in the private sector and university settings across the U.S. and around the world.


Fellowship information packet


Download the complete Indiana Hand to Shoulder Fellowship Information Packet






M - F:  8am - 5pm

Saturday, early morning, and evening appointments available at Northside location.


Evening appointments available at the Southside location.

Copyright 2019 Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center

 Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. Download IHTSC Discrimination Policy.