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From general surgeon to hand surgeon?

Sir Jun

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    Any comments from those in the know regarding becoming a hand surgeon after a general surgery residency as opposed to an orthopedics residency? I know that it is probably preferred to be an orthopedic surgeon or plastic surgeon. Do you think that general surgeons have a disproportionately more difficult time finding a job as a hand surgeon after fellowship training in hand compared to those who came from a plastics or ortho background?

    Thanks!
     

    Winged Scapula

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    1. Attending Physician
      Sir Jun said:
      Any comments from those in the know regarding becoming a hand surgeon after a general surgery residency as opposed to an orthopedics residency? I know that it is probably preferred to be an orthopedic surgeon or plastic surgeon. Do you think that general surgeons have a disproportionately more difficult time finding a job as a hand surgeon after fellowship training in hand compared to those who came from a plastics or ortho background?

      Thanks!

      IMHO, general surgeons who are hand fellowship trained will have a difficult time finding employment if they are unwilling to do mostly general surgery. Without the upper extremity experience and general Plastics experience
      I don't think you would be as financially valuable to a practice as an Orthopod or PRS surgeon.

      One of the problems is that Hand cases tend to be referred to one of the above groups and again, getting hired by one of those groups can be difficult because you have limited skills to offer them. Why wouldn't they prefer to hire an Orthopod or PRS who can do a lot more. OTOH, general surgery groups would find you attractive but again, your patient base will be largely gen surg in nature with a few simple hand cases thrown in (and the referrals for those will probably largely come from within your own group, IMHO).

      There are lots of threads on this topic: if you do a forum search you'll find them.

      Here's one to get you started...http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=167336&highlight=hand+surgery
       

      maxheadroom

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        GS-trained hand surgeons seem to have a hard time finding jobs because if they join a general surgery practice, their partners don't want to/can't cover their patients. As KC said earlier, the Ortho/PRS practices want people who can do more than just hand, which the GS-trained hand surgeon usually can't do. I've seen a few GS-trained guys come through my program as hand fellows. Most are using the hand fellowship as a catapult to an independent PRS residency.
         
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