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Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by hudsontc, 12.18.02.

  1. hudsontc

    hudsontc Attending

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    I'm interested in surgery and was wondering what options a general surgery resident has to sub-specialize. Additionally, when graduating from medical school, do students interview for both specialty and sub-specialty (ex. general surgery/orthopedics)? If not, it seems as though general surgery residents could apply for positions every year during their residency. Finally, what surgical fields are more/less demanding and which are more/less competitive.
    Whatever I go into, I want to know that I will have fun in what I do. Surgery just seems like a field in which there is always room for personal growth/improvement...so in that sense, it seems like it would be least likely to become boring or mindless.
    I appreciate any feedback you might have. My apologies for the broad questioning...I know so little. Thanks.
  2. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Physician Faculty hSDN Member SDN 10+ Year Member
    In the example you've given, Orthopedic surgeons complete 1 Preliminary Gen Surg year followed by their Orthopedic specialty training. Most residents either apply separately for a Prelim year at the same time as they apply for their Ortho training or the Prelim year is "built-in" as part of the Ortho residency program.

    Residents do not apply for positions every year - if you've only matched to a 1 year Preliminary spot, then you will have to reapply for the full (Categorical) training.

    The same is true for other surgical subspecialties like Urology, ENT, Neuro, etc. Now if you are thinking about fellowships like CT, Vascular, Plastics, Transplant, Trauma, Oncology, Peds, etc. these generally require completion of a 5+ year general surgery residency. You will apply for fellowships sometime during the latter portion of your general surgery training.

    The competitiveness of various surgical specialties has been discussed here before, but in general the following are more competitive (in no particular order):

    ENT
    Ortho
    Urology
    Plastics (integrated programs)

    Growing less competitive: Neuro

    Less competitive but getting more popular: Gen Surg

    Fellowships are also variably competitive - among the more competitive would be Surg Onc, Laparoscopic, Plastics

    Growing less competitive: Peds

    Less Competitive: Trauma, Transplant, CT

    and there are lots in between (ie, Colorectal, Breast, etc.)

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