APDoc

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droliver, Kimberli Cox, and others:

I'm a first year med student very interested in plastic surgery. However, I keep hearing from everyone that you have to be "the best of the best" to even be considered for a residency position. It's still early in my medical education, but I'm finding myself in the middle of my class with regards to exam grades and such. Also, I have never been the greatest standardized test taker either (I relied mostly on my good grades and experiences to secure a spot in medical school). Does anyone have any advice for me so I can strengthen my chances of being competitive for a plastic surgery position?

Also, I've heard there is more than one way to get there... I realize the integrated programs are super competitive, but I've heard you can go the general surgery residency route and apply for a plastic surgery residency afterwards. Is this true? If so, are the chances better of gaining a plastics spot using this method, and what do the programs look for in applicants at this point in their medical education?

Thanks, and I hope to get some responses : )


- APDoc, MSI
 

Celiac Plexus

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You can do it 2 ways: gen surg rez then a fellowship, or the 6 year integrated.

I've been hearing that the fellowships aren't that hard to get these days. So, doing gen surg first then doing a fellowship may be your best bet.

There are a relative handful of integrated programs at the moment, and they ARE pretty competitive. Unfortunately, AOA status, and high Step I scores are important since the integrated programs can take their pick of a lot of great applicants. Having said that, like all small fields, connections are critical. You should get involved with your school's plastic surgery club if they have one. You should also identify a mentor now so that you can establish a good personal and professional relationship with that person. The more "important" the surgeon, the better. That way, by the time you apply, you have a strong ally that is willing to go to bat for you when you try to match.

Good luck!
 

droliver

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APDoc,

actually, Plastic Surgery is the single most competative post-surgical fellowship going in terms of match rate (~65% for this past year I think) and seems to be getting more so as you talk to program directors
 
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APDoc

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droliver,

That's what I figured... since you've been down the plastics road, do you have any advice you could offer me? What types of things will a fellowship program for plastics look at? Do they still look at Step 1 scores, medical school grades, etc., or are they more interested in how you performed as a general surgery resident?

Also, another big question I have-- is it imperative that you complete a full general surgery residency prior to applying for plastics positions? I've read in some places that only 3 years of general surgery is required. If that's the case, are there only certain general surgery residency programs you can apply for that are 3 years in length, or do you just apply to any program and leave it after 3 years?


Thanks for your time and info,

APDoc
 

Celiac Plexus

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Originally posted by droliver
APDoc,

actually, Plastic Surgery is the single most competative post-surgical fellowship going in terms of match rate (~65% for this past year I think) and seems to be getting more so as you talk to program directors
65%... Didn't know that. Still, I would think that it is harder to match in a 6 year integrated program.

By the way Dr. Oliver, thanks for replying to my other posts. I appreciate the time you took to help me out.
 

Winged Scapula

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RE: matching into PRS after 3 years of Gen Surg:

Take a look at www.sfmatch.org for detailed information about the application procedure (note that you apply TWO years in advance) and program requirements. In theory, you should be able to apply from any ACGME gen surg program for a position after 3 years; in practice, the most successful applicants have completed the full 5+ years of general surgery (ie, it is increasingly difficult to obtain a position after only 3 years).

PRS is a small field an whom you know can help; word does get around if you're a buffoon or difficult to deal with. So beyond good scores, research,etc. make sure you come across as someone likeable and capable.
 

droliver

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As Kimberli said, there are very few oppurtunities for people finishing 3 or 4 years of surgery & trying to match into PRS fellowships now. Its been a liniear curve downward over the last decade from a high in the low 30's in the early 1990's to just 5 with the last match - and I assume of that 5 all of them had been in the lab a few years after 3 years of clinical duties. The match rates for both avenues into Plastic Surgery are becoming more similarly competative with just under 50% of applicants for the integrated and ~65% (and falling) match rates for the traditional route. Market forces @ work I guess!
 
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