How does one go about being a plastic surgeon?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Jane Fox, Apr 16, 2002.

  1. Jane Fox

    Jane Fox Junior Member

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    I'm an IMG and was wondering what I have to do in order to become a plastic surgeon. Is PS simply a fellowship after finishing a General Surgery Residency or are there straight Plastic residencies looming about that I don't know about. If so, how competitive do I have to be to get one? What is the secret potion?!
     
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  3. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
    Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Jane Fox:
    <strong>I'm an IMG and was wondering what I have to do in order to become a plastic surgeon. Is PS simply a fellowship after finishing a General Surgery Residency or are there straight Plastic residencies looming about that I don't know about. If so, how competitive do I have to be to get one? What is the secret potion?!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Jane...

    There are two routes to becoming a Plastic Surgeon in the US:

    1) the traditional Independent Model in which you do at least 3 years of General Surgery and apply to PS programs as a fellow. Most successful applicants have the full 5+ years of General Surgery and IMGs may be required to have that as well to be Board Certified. Competitive but not the most.

    2) the more recent Integrated Model in which you apply as a final year medical student and generally do a "3 & 3" - 3 years General Surgery and 3 years Plastic Surgery (this can vary; 3&3 is the most popular, but there exist "4&2", 3&2, etc.) These programs are extremely competitive and for an IMG to match would be quite a feat given the number of AMGs vying for the 50-odd spots each year. I interviewed at several programs last year and was the only IMG at all my interviews, if that tells you something.

    Like most competitive programs, your application must have good USMLE scores, LORs, grades, and usually US clinical experience; most of the programs I interviewed at also tried to assess the "art" and your "eye" by having you do something creative (ie, carve a nose out of soap, etc.) There is no "secret potion" other than to present a great application, know someone (the field is pretty small in the US) can help and of course, interview well should you secure interviews. Most people I know applying for Plastics ended up matching into General Surgery (including moi).

    When the search function starts working again, take a look at some of the older threads or set your parameters to show posts from the last year or so; you will find some devoted to this very topic.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. hosskp1

    hosskp1 Senior Member

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    Do not let the numbers scare you. IT can happen. I am applying for residencies this next cycle and I know that I can't get a spot in one of the integrated plastic surgery residencies. I am interested in the field though. So I am going to apply for a general surgery residency and go from there.

    KEEP ON PUSHING
     
  5. draper

    draper Member

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    jane, hoss is correct and you should still apply if you are interested. Many random factors come into play during the match.

    If you plan on applying out of medical school you can apply to either a combined or integrated program. The overwhelming majority of programs are combined, meaning that you do 3 years (sometimes 4 or 2) of general surgery and then 3 years (or 2 in the case of a "4+2") of plastics.
    I am currently at a combined plastics program.

    Integrated programs (Michigan, Wisconsin, Loma Linda, MCW, Baylor, SIU) have tailored rotations for future plastic surgeons such as hand, ent, derm, etc. In my opinion, integrated programs are better for your sanity and overall training.

    Fellowships are available after 3,4, or 5 years of general surgery training. These are generally 2 year positions and are competitive to obtain, although not as competitive as say, pediatric surgery.

    Approximately 300 people applied for 70 combined/integrated positions when I was applying for the match. That's a successful match rate of &lt;25%- which by the numbers, makes it statistically the most difficult match of any field out of medical school. Most of the people who matched were AOA, possessed good board scores and LORs. However, the interview is an extremely important factor for the match- and that is where luck and personality enter. I know candidates who were AOA from top 10 schools who didn't match into combined plastics spots whereas certain very personable students who didn't have the same credentials did. Therefore, you should certainly apply for the match, but with a viable backup. IMGs do match, but they typically have research and/or connections. Hope this helps and good luck.
     
  6. Jane Fox

    Jane Fox Junior Member

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    Hey hosskp1, Kimberli Cox and draper:
    Thanks so much for taking the time to give me such detailed advice, and above all, encouragement. You all are a real inspiration.

    Thanks and God Bless!
    Jane <img border="0" alt="[Lovey]" title="" src="graemlins/lovey.gif" />
     

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