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Top 10 Plastic Surgery Residencies Rankings

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Justianna Artz, Dec 31, 2001.

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  1. Justianna Artz

    Justianna Artz Junior Member

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    OK, I decided to start this thread after seeing the recent "Top 10 Ranking Residency" posts concerning Anesthesiology and Neurosurgery. I'm halfway through my 3rd year of medical school and am thinking of applying to combined or integrated plastic surgery programs (3 or 4 years general + 2 or 3 plastics + 1 or 2 research) depending on the program.

    I've been talking to some residents and attendings, and here's what I've sort of heard so far and would like your collective opinion. Following the Anesthesiology posts, I will list what I've heard so far are the Top 4 programs:

    Top 4: UCSF, UCLA, Hopkins, Harvard

    But then what comes next? I've heard NYU, Pitt, Penn, Stanford, Yale, Baylor, U Washington, U Michigan. What about U Virginia, Brown, UCSD, USC, Cornell, U Chicago, Northwestern?

    And would this list be radically different if we included programs which offer only traditional plastics fellowships for those who've completed their entire 5 years of general surgery?

    What would be great if there is a site showing what each program's average rank was among students who ranked them... I guess that could be misleading... or show the raw number of how many students ranked them 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. That may give a collective idea of how applicants felt about these programs. Or even a list of how acadamic faculty ranked these programs could be useful. It seems like the Anesthesiology people have a lot more studies and stats about their programs! ;)
  2. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus

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    Justianna,

    The "top" 4 programs by reputation IMHO for Plastic surgery are probably: NYU, Southwestern(Tx.), UCSF, and UCLA.

    You can put Pitt, Baylor, Harvard-MGH, Michigan, Duke, & a few others in the next tier for academic prestige. All of these programs are extroidinarily competative BTW. A few top programs that do not take integrated residents would include UAB, Duke, & Vanderbilt.

    A few websites have popped up over the last few years dedicated to people applying for integrated spots, but are not currently active. I think you can still find the pages via GOOGLE searches. One of the operators of the original website (& applicant in the match that year) was reportedly nearly blackballed for posting inflamatory comments about some of the program directors (circa 1997).
  3. JGDL

    JGDL Junior Member

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    Yes, I agree with the previous list.
    I think It would be UCSF, NYU, Southwestern, Pitt, UCLA, Baylor, Harvard, Duke and Michigan but I depends of each person.
    Also I would like to ask which programs are more aesthetic surgery oriented.
    Thanks and Happy New year!
  4. danny_husk

    danny_husk Junior Member

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    I thought that neither UCLA nor UCSF offered integrated programs. Am I wrong?
  5. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus

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    JGDL- Southwestern, Northwestern, & NYU are strong aesthetic-oriented programs that I know of

    Danny Husk- I think UCSF/UCLA take some integrated & some traditional @ this point.(As do a # of the larger programs)
  6. Justianna Artz

    Justianna Artz Junior Member

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    So it looks like the biggest omission I made was Southwestern, and the biggest incorrect inclusion was Hopkins? I thought Southwestern and Hopkins were both known for having brutal, but well-trained, surgical residents. When it comes to plastics, Hopkins has a poor reputation?

    droliver: I searched on Google but could not google out any integrated rankings. <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
  7. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Administrator Lifetime Donor

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    Justianna...

    I don't think anyone is saying that JHU has a "poor reputation" when it comes to PRS but rather it isn't in the top 5. droliver can probably give you more insight into the world (his father is a Plastic Surgeon) of training programs, but I'm sure you would receive fine training at Hopkins.

    Best of luck.

    BTW: Baylor also had a large aesthetic service when I did an elective there during 4th year.
  8. JGDL

    JGDL Junior Member

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    I would really appreciate any information about the actual situation of plastics regarding jobs, salaries, hours week... especially in aesthetic surgery.
    Thanks
  9. draper

    draper Member

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    Justianna,
    based purely on reputation, I think the rankings for integrated/combined (not traditional, and therefore excluding programs such as Emory) are:

    1. NYU
    2. Southwestern
    3. Pittsburgh (fallen somewhat since Futrell's departure)
    4. Michigan
    5. UCLA
    6. Baylor
    7. UCSF
    8. Wash U.
    9. Harvard combined
    10. Yale (I'm partial to it because this is where I'm at)

    Other programs that would make a case for being in the top 10 are: seattle, hopkins, and northwestern
  10. Justianna Artz

    Justianna Artz Junior Member

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    I heard that NYU Plastic Surgery is no longer a top tier program, due to some "recent changes"... does anyone know what this means?
  11. draper

    draper Member

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    By reputation, NYU remains as one of the dominant plastics department in the country. They still have McCarthy, who is considered by many to be the father of plastic surgery. Beasley, although, not very active any more is still one of the pioneers of hand surgery. Charley Thorne who runs plastics at Bellevue is also widely respected. They also have a host of other attendings such as Court Cutting and Barry Zide who are nationally known.
    It's true that they lost Michael Longacre to Stanford- he is considered to be the preeminent plastics researcher in the country. However, the reputation of NYU is still among the best in the country.
    Now, the program itself is a different story. The general surgery is malignant, and I have friends who are in plastics at NYU who have complained about not getting enough hand-on experience. In short, I think that the training program is perhaps not the ideal for most residents but the resources there are amongst the best.
    Hope this helps,

    draper
  12. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus

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    NYU will still be the king of the block for PRS divisons for a while. While Dr. McCarthy may not be the "father of plastic surgery" as draper proclaimed (those title probably go to surgeons 2-3 generations prior, Dr. McCarthy succeeded Dr. Converse, an equally prominent figure in his day as chair @ NYU), he is one of the most esteemed Dept. Chairs in the field.

    Dr. Longacre was a prolific rainmaker for grant money but not very active clinically. His presence added to the academic prestige, but not much to the day to day training. As Draper pointed out, the names at NYU are HUGE (even though you left out Drs. Aston & Baker ;) ) and what's just as important is the tremendous financial resources available to the division
    that allow them flexability & oppurtunity not available to just about every other program.

    It does not surprise me that Draper reported some disatisfaction among his friends @ NYU in the integrated program. I can imagine their experience is like most interns @ large academic centers: lots of patient care & disposition issues. On top of that, they probably get the short end of the stick with their rotations as compared to their gen surgery peers there who look after their own first. This is a common complaint with a lot of the integrated programs (the preclinical years are largely non-operative experience a lot of the time).

    Draper, has YALE managed to come up with a way around this?
  13. draper

    draper Member

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    Well, droliver, thank you for correcting my description of McCarthy as "the father of plastic surgery." A more accurate description of him is as "the most prominent plastics chairman in America." Certainly Converse, who preceded him, garnered similar respect in his day and there are a host of men that can be named who developed the field of plastic surgery. And excuse my omission of Aston & Baker, of $10000 augmentation fame.

    As far as integrated programs are concerned, droliver, I don't think there is much disgruntlement amongst plastics residents during their general surgery rotations because by and large, they just don't have many. Rotations on ENT, ortho, burn and derm are certainly welcomed by most integrated residents.

    Now, as far as combined programs are concerned, such as Yale, you are correct in pointing out our disgruntlement on certain rotations. When I was an intern, I did not have the same "protected" operative rotations as general surgery and instead endured many "scut" rotations such as multiple rotations of peripheral vascular. And as you have also mentioned, my sentiment is shared by many of my fellow residents at Yale.

    I believe that the solution is that plastics divisions across the country should break away and become their own departments, thereby having the necessary clout to formulate their own curriculums tailored to their needs such as the truly integrated programs. Of course, the problems with enacting these reforms are almost Herculean and I don't think anybody really knows exactly how to ideally train the plastics resident. Yale certainly requires progressive change, as do most of the combined programs in the country.

    Are you entering plastics droliver?
  14. draper

    draper Member

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    Well, droliver, thank you for correcting my description of McCarthy as "the father of plastic surgery." A more accurate description of him is as "the most prominent plastics chairman in America." Certainly Converse, who preceded him, garnered similar respect in his day and there are a host of men that can be named who developed the field of plastic surgery. And excuse my omission of Aston & Baker, of $10000 augmentation fame.

    As far as integrated programs are concerned, droliver, I don't think there is much disgruntlement amongst plastics residents during their general surgery rotations because by and large, they just don't have many. Rotations on ENT, ortho, burn and derm are certainly welcomed by most integrated residents.

    Now, as far as combined programs are concerned, such as Yale, you are correct in pointing out our disgruntlement on certain rotations. When I was an intern, I did not have the same "protected" operative rotations as general surgery and instead endured many "scut" rotations such as multiple rotations of peripheral vascular. And as you have also mentioned, my sentiment is shared by many of my fellow residents at Yale.

    I believe that the solution is that plastics divisions across the country should break away and become their own departments, thereby having the necessary clout to formulate their own curriculums tailored to their needs such as the truly integrated programs. Of course, the problems with enacting these reforms are almost Herculean and I don't think anybody really knows exactly how to ideally train the plastics resident. Yale certainly requires progressive change, as do most of the combined programs in the country.

    Are you entering plastics droliver?
  15. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus

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    draper,

    yes I'm going to do PRS, I start interviews next month for 2003.

    As far as PRS breaking away to form their own departments..... Southwestern is the only place I know of that has that arrangement (there may be more that I don't know about). I don't really see this happening soon for a couple of reasons.

    1. there is no incentive for Gen. Surgery to allow PRS to spin off as at many places it is a profitable division

    2. Plastic surgery is a field with most of its roots in general surgery, especially in academics. To get the "vocabulary" to do more complex surgeries, you really have to start @ the ground floor of core gen. surgery roatations (ie. vascular, head & neck, soft tissue handling, breast). If the divisions try to form departments unilaterally, they will potentially lose access to the core curriculum rotations in surgery @ their institution.

    Oh by the way.... I think one of your senior fellows may end up here on staff @ Louisville next year. I did not meet him when he came to interview, but I understand he's a very talented research guy
  16. draper

    draper Member

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    Well droliver, I'm afraid that you're correct about GS not permitting PS to break away. That is the primary difficulty that plastics divisions will face when they try to break away.

    Other plastics departments, BTW, include Michigan and SIU. I suspect that most, if not all of the truly integrated programs such as Baylor, MCW, and Loma Linda are also their own departments.

    Of course GS is the core to most subspecialties, but I certainly do not believe that a plastic surgeon requires 5 clinical years of GS. Urology is in the abdomen for their ileal conduits and most urology programs require only 2 years of GS. A plastic surgeon who has completed a full general surgery residency is not going to do a lap chole, a colon resection or a Nissen during their practice. There is not enough objective data currently to compare combined/integrated residents vs. traditional pathway plastics fellows.

    Instead, my idea is for all medical students interested in any type of surgery to match into a 2year preliminary general surgery core, after which residents apply for either continuation in gs or prs, ent, urology, etc. I think 2 years of GS is sufficient training to instill the basic principles and a sense of safety. Afterwards, each specialty should be responsible for technical OR training.

    I have seen plastics attendings spend much effort "deteaching" general surgical operative techniques which are often developed in the 3rd and 4th years of gs training.

    In summary, the jury is out, and it will be nearly a decade or more until reform sweeps the remainder of the plastics programs.
  17. prince

    prince Junior Member

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    hey draper,

    I wrote u a message, wondering if u got it?
    prince
  18. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus

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    Draper,

    I checked each of those Plastic surgery programs (Michigan,SIU,Baylor,MCW, & Loma Linda) & they are all listed as divsions of the general surgery department @ those programs rather than Departments as is the case @ Southwestern. I know there are 2 more (departments)out there according to the Southwestern homepage, are you sure about UM & SIU?

    I also agree that you don't have to neccesarily do a full 5 years of general surgery do be able to do most of the cases for Plastics (it will make you a better doctor & surgeon though), but I think that 3 years is not enough experience. You just don't have enough primary surgeon cases @ that point to be competent even @ very busy programs. I think Univ. of Chicago's model of 4 + 3 is probably the best compromise for integrated programs
  19. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Administrator Lifetime Donor

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    I must agree with droliver - if you're at a program like mine, the first two years is largely floor work, with very little OR time, and often (especially during the intern year), what counts as OR time is simply hanging hook. Not nearly enough experience (even with the addition of 3rd year) to learn surgical technique.

    Obviously there are great differences between programs, but it is my understanding that many academic programs are the same - floor work during the first two years with progressively more OR time and operating as the years pass. I also agree that perhaps 5 year IS too much time in generals surgery for the future PRS surgeon, for the reasons droliver has given.
  20. Justianna Artz

    Justianna Artz Junior Member

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    How about integrated plastics program that still have some time on general surgery in their fourth year? At UCLA and Johns Hopkins, they both have 6 months of general surgery as a 4th year, and thus you are chief of several services (UCLA: pediatrics, trauma, vascular; Hopkins: vascular, general, trauma). Some people suggest that this chief experience is invaluable, possibly more for maturity and confidence of taking care of many patients. Others argue that while you are a chief and learning how to do CEAs, AAAs, Whipple's, thoracotomies, etc., you are wasting your time as plastics uses a different set of techniques. Do you guys think that this 4th year chief experience is useful for a plastic surgeon?
  21. draper

    draper Member

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    Well, everybody is certainly entitled to their
    own opinion. I remain firm in my own belief that plastics does not require 3 years of general surgery or more for that matter unless one goes into specialized niches within academic plastic surgery such as intrabdominal/thoracic flaps. Learning how to perform colon resections or esophagectomies is hardly going to be relevant to 99% of the plastic surgeons in America.
    In addition, urologists, who are far more often in the abdomen have 2 years of general surgery and I have not heard the battlecry raised to increase general surgery training for them.

    In any case, it will be at least a decade before one can assess the outcome of the combined/integrated plastics resident vs. the traditional 5+2 plastics fellow.
  22. draper

    draper Member

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    I apologize for this additional post- I was paged away before I could finish my train of thought.

    I think the critical portion of general surgery that plastic surgeons should take away is how to care for patients and get a sense of disease, Kimberly. Operating styles from ent to ortho to plastics to general surgery are different and are that way for a reason. Rather than doing 5+2, how about 2+4 or even 2+5? Instead of doing 30 lap-assisted ileocecal resections of 7 whipples, which are certainly great cases in their own right, wouldn't it be more useful for a plastic surgeon to have done 10 more Lefort III reductions or even 10 more rhinoplasties? Or how about 6 months of hand surgery at Louisville or another center such as Duke's plastics program? Or a few months of derm or ent or...just about a thousand other useful rotations.
    This is why I favor less general surgery training and more plastics related training.

    As for departments, droliver, I only found Vanderbilt and UVA to be departments in addition to SW. Curious, since I would expect GS departments to utilize their divisional members more.
  23. alicelinden

    alicelinden Junior Member

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    is Stanford considered a good integrated plastics program? What is there reputation for general surgery and for plastic surgery? I have heard some surgeons saying that Stanford is not a strong surgical program... but these guys rag on a lot of programs.
  24. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus

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    Stanford tends not to be mentioned among the top programs for general or plastic surgery. They do however tend to be pretty competative among applicants b/c of the great location. They also are very well funded, I think if you want to to plastics in their integrated program that they require you to do an externship as a student though
  25. Justianna Artz

    Justianna Artz Junior Member

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    I noticed that droliver talked about how strong the NYU program is. What about the Harvard program? Does anyone know how it compares to NYU?
  26. Justianna Artz

    Justianna Artz Junior Member

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    To sort of answer my previous question... I've heard the Harvard program is more bark than bite... that it's got the Harvard name, but otherwise the training is nothing special and there is a lot of political infighting between the hospitals because they merged together, and residents can be caught in the middle of that.

    For UCLA I keep hearing that they have too many fellows, but then I hear their volume is so high that it doesn't matter.

    For NYU, I hear that the Bellevue portion is resident-run and very independent, but there is little or no teaching so you're really not learning much. I heard even the cosmetic experience is dwindling because of political things at the Manhattan Eye and Ear (being merged into Lennox Hill or something, so that the MEETH's volume will go down.)

    I heard the Stanford program is better than most people say, although I'm not sure where it places them. Do people think UCSF or Stanford is better?

    I haven't heard much about Northwestern, U. Chicago, U. Pittsburgh, and U. Penn.

    If anyone has any comments on any of the above programs (Harvard, UCLA, Stanford, UCSF, Northwestern, Chicago, Pitt, Penn), please post and share your gripes/raves! Thanks.
  27. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus

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    Justianna,

    I just can't imagine Harvard/MGH not having a great program with all their resources. UCSF has a fantastic reputation. Pitt & Northwestern likewise seem to be great places.

    As for NYU, their integrated model may have its faults, but I've not heard much about their program being knocked from the top of the heap. They have SOOOO much money compared to most divisions & get to operate with such talented surgeons.
  28. eyepop

    eyepop

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    Hi,
    This post is from 2002. Can anybody tell me whether UT Southwestern is still a top 2-4 plastic surgery program? I am probably going to matriculate into their MD/PhD program, and plastic surgery is my top choice.
  29. southernIM

    southernIM

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    Then you should probably wait another 7 years and then bump the thread again...
  30. eyepop

    eyepop

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    Haha, that's true. 7 years is a long time. But I heard that you need to do one or two years of research to get into plastic/ortho anyways, so spending another two years to do research is not a big deal:laugh:. p.s. I would like to confirm this with somebody: I know of course you don't HAVE TO take a year off to do research to boost your chance, but since plastics is so competitive, most people decided to do one year of research anyways. Is this true? I am not doing the PhD to get into plastics and I might change my mind about what I want to do. But knowing I am only doing two more years of research helps me breath a little :laugh:
  31. howelljolly

    howelljolly

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    Point was, if you're gonna do a mudphud.... theres no sense in determining the status of the program now if you'd start in 7 years.

    Average Plastic Surgery intern this year has 3.7 research experiences, and 8.2 publications/posters/presentations. 2% have a PhD. The average American intern has 2.2. research experiences and about 3 pubs. I dont know what percent of interns have a PhD, but I do know that 5% of Internal Medicine interns have one.

    The most common specialties for MD/PhDs this year are Dermatology, Neurosurgery, Neurolology, Pathology, and Radiation Oncology.

    I dont know what any of this means.
  32. southernIM

    southernIM

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    Exactly.

    And you do not "have to" do a year of research to get into plastics, ortho, or any other competitive specialty.
  33. howelljolly

    howelljolly

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    That too. You should do great in med school, and make it a point to do your best in the relevent rotations. Take your electives in the field you want to go into. Impress your attendings.

    Thats the most important thing. Putting lipstick on a pig won't help.
  34. eyepop

    eyepop

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    Thank you guys so much for your information :)
    Wow! 3.7 research experiences, and 8.2 publications/posters/presentations. Does research experience before medical school (undergrad, postbac) count? I can not imagine that you get 4 researches done within three year (and maybe a half?) of medical school. Plus 8.2 publications, it must be clinical research/case report scenario, instead of basic science research, right?
  35. howelljolly

    howelljolly

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    Dont know. Its publications/posters/presentations.
  36. MD261

    MD261

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    Does anyone know or heard anything about the combined surgery/Plastic Surgery residency program at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY? They don't have much info on their website. Any info about this program is much appreciated! Thanx :confused:

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