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What is the career outlook for a DO surgeon?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Osteopathic [ DO ]' started by fastfingers, 03.12.12.

  1. fastfingers

    fastfingers

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    I'm trying to decide if going DO is the right choice for me, or if I should take another gap year, retake MCAT, and go MD. I reallly want to be a surgeon and go private practice, but my fear is that private pratice groups would not want me as a partner if I'm a DO. Could anybody comment on this?
  2. FrkyBgStok

    FrkyBgStok DMU c/o 2016

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    take a year and work on going MD. You will be much happier and won't have to worry about what other people think. Let someone else have the spot that isn't unnecessarily afraid of being a DO surgeon.

    but when you do apply again, make sure that you only apply to schools that would attend. you could have saved yourself a ton of money.
  3. fastfingers

    fastfingers

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    hmm like, i don't mind going DO and definitely don't mind what others think. a doctor is a doctor to me. I'm just making sure that the road isn't impossibly hard cause I do hear that theres some tougher areas in going DO.
  4. GraceEuphoria

    GraceEuphoria

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    :thumbup: I'll agree with this namely because nobody likes a disgruntled, bitter DO :laugh: No, in all seriousness though, not trying to jump your case on that. But if you really don't think you'd be happy with it, then don't do it. DO prospects for surgery are really good from what I hear. I don't know much about private practice and all that, but I definitely think your ability to get into a private practice with MDs will be strictly based on a.) what region of the country you're hoping to practice in and b.) what region of the country/what school the MDs trained in. I say this because for example, MSU-COM is so tightly linked with an MD program that they work nearly side by side from what I've gathered....while I can't guarantee it, it seems an MD grad from there would be less likely to turn you away. Same for other DO residency heavy states like FL and NY. Slowly but surely, the tides are a changing, so I wouldn't shy away completely unless you're really that concerned.
  5. HotandCold

    HotandCold Senior member

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    From what I understand, General Surgery through an MD residency is actually not that competitive, so you shouldn't have a problem getting one...

    And from glancing at what AOA has, they've got plenty as well.

    As for your fear of private practice groups not wanting you as a partner, maybe that's something you should do a little footwork to find out. Contact some physicians in private practice in the field, and ask them. I know it sounds absurd, but do you honestly think many people on this forum can guess that?

    If you're putting up money/man power, I don't personally see why they wouldn't have a good DO surgeon on board.
  6. GraceEuphoria

    GraceEuphoria

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    I know personally speaking we were told by a particular presenter (who came to speak on the issue of residency spots and certain specialties, etc) that if you want to do surg as a DO, you definitely should considere AOA residencies before ACGME. Normally it is somewhat the opposite because the AOA residencies limit you by numbers (and geography depending on your preferences), so I remember that stood out to me. Doing surgery definitely won't be your biggest concern as a DO. Agreed though on just asking around, particularly in regions you think you'd like to end up in.
  7. serenade

    serenade Medical Alchemist

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    I doubt you'll be too hindered in getting partners as a DO. You'll probably be more hindered by having an abrasive personality or not having good connections. That being said the hard part probably is in the getting into either an AOA or ACGME surgery residency.
  8. SoulinNeed

    SoulinNeed

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    There are plenty of DO's who go for AOA Gen surgery programs, and they seem to be doing just fine.
  9. poopyhead

    poopyhead

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    Doing a quick search, they are in CA (2), FL (1), IA (1), IL (1), MI (13), MO (2), NJ (2), NY (7), OH (6), OK (1), OR (1), PA (6), TX (1).
  10. danzman

    danzman The Ace of Spades

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    I would encourage students hell bent on entering gen surg, rad onc, or urology to not consider DO programs unless they can not get into an MD school. That said, If you have an acceptance you would be a fool to toss it away.
  11. TriagePreMed

    TriagePreMed Removed

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    I don't know why everyone is jumping on you. I think this is a legitimate concern to have, but it's also something really hard to predict. We're talking about you becoming an attending 11 to 12 years from now. By then the DO stigma should be a lot less as more and more from the old generation are gone. You won't be without a job, that's for sure.
  12. Sinfest

    Sinfest Slick

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    IIRC, the opposite is actually true. It's difficult for a DO to land a categorical gen surg spot at an MD program.
  13. fastfingers

    fastfingers

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    thanks for all the replies. I'd definitely won't be a bitter DO or feel, as some of you may imply, embarrassed to be a DO. Its more matter of fact a concern that I'd want to reach my career goal. private practice is something i really want to do due to the flexibility i can get and choices i can make.

    I think i'll definitely try to look up regions. I'm currently in oregon, but like.. i wouldn't know where i would live down the road and was hoping maybe somebody could shed some light on how it looks in the regions they live in.

    Its just, i've personaly only seen private practice family doctors who are DOs, tho my exposure is highly limited.
  14. ManBroDude

    ManBroDude Half man, half bearpig

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    I can understand Rad Onc (ultra competitive, no AOA residencies) and Urology (very competitive, no AOA residencies), but why gen surg? Aren't there AOA fellowships for it too?
  15. FrkyBgStok

    FrkyBgStok DMU c/o 2016

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    ??? Urology? Just doing a search on opportunities.osteopathic.org, it says there are 10 urological surgery residencies.
  16. ManBroDude

    ManBroDude Half man, half bearpig

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    Well shoot. It's 4:40am here on my first ED night shift of many. I guess I never noticed a AOA urology residency in the match lists I've looked at.
    Last edited: 03.13.12
  17. Bacchus

    Bacchus PGY Too-many-expectations Moderator

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    Yup PCOM has a competitive program and I hear only good things about our general surgery program as well.
  18. Khirurg

    Khirurg Member

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    By the time you are a fully trained surgeon, it is almost irrelevant if you are a DO or an MD. It might matter somewhat, if you want a prestigious academic spot, although even that will take a backseat to where you trained for surgery (general or subspecialty). What matters for private practice is that you can operate, you are interested in working hard and you are not a difficult person to work with.
    Now, as far as getting residency coming out of DO school, if you want to do surgery, you will do surgery. AOA residencies are generally weaker than allopathic residencies, just by virtue of being in places that suffer from lack of numbers or complexity of cases. This not to say that they won't train you adequately. Also, allopathic residency will set you up better for doing a fellowship you desire. Again, not that people don't get fellowships out of AOA residencies.
    MD route will make it easier for you careerwise, to obtain training spot that you might desire, but being a DO will certainly not make it impossible or complicate things, once you are well trained
  19. costales

    costales

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  20. HotandCold

    HotandCold Senior member

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  21. CCHS RX

    CCHS RX Dr. H

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    :thumbup: agree. The only stipulation -- difficulty doing an AOA gen surg and then trying to do an ACGME fellowship. There can be issues getting board certified for the ACGME fellowship.
  22. HotandCold

    HotandCold Senior member

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    I believe a few are dual accredited (AOA and ACGME.)

    Still, I don't think it should be too much of a problem.
  23. cliquesh

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    By the time these kids get into a DO school (class of 2017), it may be impossible to do an ACGME fellowship after an AOA residency. ACGME surgery residencies are not very DO friendly, but many ACGME surgery fellowships, particularly in uncompetitve fields, are DO friendly, and, as a result, there are few AOA surgical fellowships. But who knows...maybe that proposal will never pass
  24. gonnif

    gonnif Director, OldPreMeds.org Lifetime Donor

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    The "cultural stigma" (for lack of a better term) of DO vs. MD is perceived significantly more by orders of magnitude at the start of medical school than 4 years later and is, dare I say, nominal, by the time you are practicing medicine.
    Last edited: 03.13.12
  25. SoulinNeed

    SoulinNeed

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    Yeah, there is also a great DO Urology program at Cook County Hospital here in Chicago.

    I'm not interested in surgery, but that reminds me, I have a friend who wants to do DO and is sort of interested in surgery (at least, he's got the door open on it), and he's wondering how do DO surgeons do post residency (DO residency)? I'm guessing he would want to work here in Chicago (or at least, the surrounding area). I've never heard of an unemployed surgeon, but I'm wondering about job opportunities and salary for gen DO surgeons. I know that he wouldn't want to do a fellowship, because he doesn't want a prolonged residency. Can anyone help here? Thanks!
  26. Ibn Alnafis MD

    Ibn Alnafis MD

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    :xf:
  27. cliquesh

    cliquesh

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    He would be compensated like any other general surgeon. His employment options would likely be more limited, but not grossly limited by any means. He would likely find a job in chicago. General surgeons get paid like crap for the amount of work they do, however.
  28. nlax30

    nlax30 Now with pumped up kicks

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    We need general surgeons so in general the demand is there. Once you're out DO vs MD doesn't matter. I'm sure at some level of upper level academia some may have a bias against a DO if that's your goal, but I'd say that's the exemption and the same bias could be against an MD who didn't train at an uber-elite residency.

    That said, for surgery you really need a place where you're going to get the necessary volume and complexity of cases to be well trained. There are some DO programs that will do this and are great programs, and then there are super small programs where I'm not sure how the surgery residents get the experience they need.
  29. DocEspana

    DocEspana my troubles will have trouble with me

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    A commentary on pee pee surgeons.

    There are about 200 AUA (urologic match) spots out there. About 2 go to DO's every year. So its a really hard match to get. There are between 18 and 20 spots (depends on the year as many program alternate 1 and 2 residents yearly) for AOA urology. Urology is insanely competitive.... but oddly enough is a field that is known for not being board score intensive.

    Yes. A causal search of SDN will tell you otherwise. But urology is a competitive field in that there are so few spots and a number of "#1 students" go in and stake claim to a bunch of the spots. But the field one of the only ones that actively comments that board scores (Though they need to be unequivocally "above average") is not what they look for, but rather is the letters of rec.

    Its such a small field that LoRs are everything in AUA and AOA programs.

    Now back to the discussion of AOA surgery. and let me tell you, the issue with surgery is that the program directors are biased in a large percentage of programs. Not the majority, but likely more than any other field. Its just how it is, but the AOA has a lot of quality surgery programs and there are plenty of wide open ACGME surgery spots for DOs. Its just noted that its the most antiDO biased (percentage wise) "big field" out there.
  30. fastfingers

    fastfingers

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    thanks for all the insightful response (perhaps tooo much information)!

    as a question to followup, how are surgeons usually rated after residency? do you have like a success rate and complexity of surgeries you do? and that becomes the primary factor when getting a job? or what becomes the biggest factor coming out of residency when lets say i'm trying to land a big academic job, or a prestigious private practice group.
  31. cabinbuilder

    cabinbuilder

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    Seeing that you are in Oregon, I can understand your fears since you don't get exposed to many DO's here. If you go to DO school on the East coast or Midwest you will see that your fears are unfounded because you will find DO's in all specialties. Once you get through residency and are licensed I think you will find that the jobs will be there.
  32. Dissected

    Dissected When in doubt, cut it out

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    You understand incorrectly. Even MD graduates have to have very solid applications to be competitive enough to match. There were 3 spots left open after the match on monday for folks to scramble into..that is out of over 1100 positions.

    Historically only about an average of 1 DO graduate per school enters a categorical general surgery spot at an MD program. There is no data on how many do not match. The average Step 1 score is in the high 220's..which is above the national average. It's a competitive field and it is becoming more so every year.

    If you are a board certified surgeon, DO or MD, you will have the same earning potential as anyone else and for the most part you will have the same career options. This may not be true for high caliber academic type work unless you have a strong background in this sort of thing. Like someone mentioned before, if you have a good reputation and you are pleasant to work with nobody is going to care about the letters behind your name. It's a moot point after residency. The hard part is landing a residency position; after that you pave your own way.

    There are far more options geographically and just in general with regard to MD gen surg programs. If one is hell bent on surgery..I would recommend at least trying to gain an acceptance to an MD school. DO's can certainly match, but we have more limited prospects (generally speaking).


    Not trying to sound bitter or pessimistic here. This is just the way things are and it's good to be informed before you start this journey. Anything may be possible, but it's always advisable to take the path of least resistance, especially if you you have the lofty goal of being a surgeon someday.
  33. DocEspana

    DocEspana my troubles will have trouble with me

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    Oh lordy. This is plain wrong, cause it took me about 6 minutes and the calculator on my phone to figure out how many do not match.

    Your numbers are a little off. But its fine. There are 27 DO schools with graduating classes and an average of 43 DOs match per year into categorical spots over the last 5 match cycles, not including the current one. (not all of the 27 schools existed over the last 5 matches).

    It is also known that DO acceptances represent 15.7% of the independent applicant acceptance rates for general surgery categorical spots. Now some would make a further argument that a DO makes a better applicant than a caribbean graduate, but lets assume all things are equal. That means 113 DO students apply (this is counting those who later withdraw) to ACGME general surgery spots.

    43 out of 113 is pretty good when you realize it counts withdrawn applicants as well.

    The data is out there. You just need to take the damn time to do the math.
    AMA Specialty Guide (requires AMA membership)
    NRMP Charting Outcomes
  34. DocEspana

    DocEspana my troubles will have trouble with me

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    and for analysis of the numbers: I do want to say that gen surg is still a field where you need to really consider the risk of not taking an AOA residency when/if offered it. The actual numbers don't look bad when you consider those who withdraw and blah blah blah. They really don't. and I think the hooplah over it being impossible, or even very difficult, for DOs is far overblown... BUT....

    the numbers, they're still not anywhere near as good as they should be. The odds are still not in any given applicant's favor. And thats a sign of how biased it is for getting that ACGME spot in many places, even if the gloom and doom speech is overblown, it has a very real kernel of truth.
  35. SoulinNeed

    SoulinNeed

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    Yeah, I think most DO's who seek surgery simply stick with the DO match. It really just depends on your interests, though, really.
  36. Dissected

    Dissected When in doubt, cut it out

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    Dude..you can't count prelim spots. They are not the same. It was 28 last year http://www.nrmp.org/data/resultsanddata2011.pdf. Page 5.

    It was 20 in 2010 http://www.nrmp.org/data/resultsanddata2010.pdf.

    Too lazy to keep going.

    You need to take the time to read the data. Don't lecture me when you didn't even bother separating preliminary surgery from categorical. Not anywhere close to the same.
  37. DocEspana

    DocEspana my troubles will have trouble with me

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    open the AMA document. 42.6 categorical spots on average over the last 5 cycles.

    And before you say it. The AMA owns the NRMP. So yes, the AMA is the authority on NRMP results (as they actually represent the whole ACGME programming and thus represent pre-match results as well, not just the mid-march match results)

    I'd prefer not to be lectured by someone who disregards 50% of the DO matches to *categorical* spots because it'd be too much effort to open a second, much more complete, document.

    [​IMG]

    I'm out!

    EDIT: I will admit that I couldnt parse out applicants for preliminary spots from categorical as the applicant data comes as one big chunk of "who applied to surgery". But I can parse out who *gets* categorical spots, so i applied the same ratios of the successful categorical spot to the applicant pool. But that math assumption would, if anything, *lower* the rate of successful matching, not inflate it as I have no prelims in the accepted numbers but i have them in the applicant numbers. So correcting for it would further my point. Feel free to correct for it in my favor.
    Last edited: 03.14.12
  38. Ibn Alnafis MD

    Ibn Alnafis MD

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    Becoming a surgeon as a DO is definitely within reach. 257 out of 2003 pgy1 osteopathic residencies are surgical (13%), not counting ob/gyn. Add to that whatever number of DO grads who matched into MD residencies. Also, don't forget about those who do military.

    Being a DO undoubtedly causes some hindrance, but that's only if you are picky about specific programs and locations.

    my $.02

    http://www.natmatch.com/aoairp/
    Last edited: 03.14.12
  39. SeminoleVesicle

    SeminoleVesicle MS2

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    Your hostility perpetuates the idea that DO's and MD's don't get along.
  40. DocEspana

    DocEspana my troubles will have trouble with me

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    I personally strive day and night for hand holding and a sense of equality, MD and DO.

    In that we all, MD and DO, equally hate kids from Harvard and Hopkins. :laugh:

    In all seriousness. I there will always be people who defend the field a bit too much from those who dont have sunny outlooks on it. And sometimes the ones who try to defend the DO degree the most accidentally drive small wedges into the degree divide. But honestly, I'd assume that 40 or maybe even 50% of entering OMS-I's, just from what i see, feel inferior at first. That number drops significantly within the first few months of classes. Perhaps FBS needs to be a bit easier on the rhetoric and let people find their DO pride in their own time, though i think his heart is in the right place.
  41. Goro

    Goro

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    Many of my DO students go into surgery and they have no problem finding careers in private practice.


  42. Dissected

    Dissected When in doubt, cut it out

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    Hold the phone. First of all, I've noticed that most of your posts on this board are quite confrontational. That's fine and all, it's an online forum, but it's a bit irritating to get the rub from someone who is at the same level and who potentially could be a future colleague. Its almost like you have something to prove. Let's be adults about this.

    I have not read the AMA document. My smartphone does not fancy it for some reason. I'll read it when I get home.

    Are you just discounting the NRMP results?? Those are extremely comprehensive..you even posted other published documents by the NRMP..hmm.


    I'd like to see why there is a discrepancy. To be honest, from looking through match lists, the numbers from the NRMP documents seem more believable. Not many schools seem to have matched categorical gen surg in the past couple/few years. It's hard to say since not every match list is made public or specifies whether it is prelim or not.
  43. DocEspana

    DocEspana my troubles will have trouble with me

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    Nah, not confrontational. Lots of people get stuff wrong, myself included, but they get it wrong while somewhat admitting that its "their understanding" or their best guess. I get easily ticked off by people who use data as a shield for bad or lazy analysis. Because data and stats are my thing. You may not have been lazy or making bad analysis, but you seemed plenty confident and appeared to have given too much of an effort to search for the data you said didnt exist. Data I've quoted (not that you should be looking for me) many many times on this forum. It may have just been my perception, but I'm trying to stamp out bad data of all kinds. Opinions and best guesses can run rampant. I just hate poorly cited info and may have jumped down your throat far too early, because I feel cited info carries more weight, it should deserve equal effort to the objectivity it usually carries.

    It's that the NRMP is the match. Literally. With the existence of pre-matching, the NRMP documents have one giant flaw. Any pre-matched spot is entirely invisible and treated as if it never existed. I was personally among the students (though I was *very* minor in this regard) who requested the AMA step up their game and formally release a document that can compensate for who is actually in these programs, as opposed to simply the match results. This effectively leads to numbers that account for pre-matching. But the flaw with their data is that since it only looks at residents, it doesnt any have measurement of applicants.

    The trick is putting together the nearly flawless applicant data from the NRMP with the nearly flawless acceptance data from the AMA and ignoring the parts where both reports are largely deficient.
    Last edited: 03.14.12
  44. Dissected

    Dissected When in doubt, cut it out

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    Can't blame me for never seeing the AMA doc before. Only going off of what was published about the match itself! Call me crazy, but I looked through that AMA online pamphlet and I couldn't find any data about how many DO's match each year...what page number are you looking at. If you calculated it, what numbers did you crunch together. One thing I noticed is that this its also a voluntary survey that was sent out...so not all programs are accounted for!

    Also- does this 42.6 number include military positions?? I think those positions should be mentioned separately. It is a separate match and a specific subset of applicants, after all.

    I buy the pre-match explanation to account for some of the discrepancy, but if you just compare the NRMP documents to the 42.6 number you've come up with, this would imply that ~50% of spots were pre-matched in the past 5 yrs..That seems pretty high!

    In any event, with pre-matching out the window in the coming years, the NRMP match statistics should be a far better litmus test from here on out.
    Last edited: 03.14.12

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