Some program reviews for future applicants

Discussion in 'Plastic Surgery' started by PlastikeInfo, May 1, 2011.

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  1. PlastikeInfo

    PlastikeInfo 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2011
    Hopefully, this post will be well received by future plastic surgery applicants. It is purely intended to be one individual's opinion of various programs and in no way a condemnation of any program. IMHO, every program graduates competent residents it just depends on what you want from a training program. During the application process I enjoyed reading varying accounts of PRS programs and thought I would give back. Here are some brief pros and cons of several places:
    1. NYU
    Pros: strong 3 years of plastic surgery, well known faculty, Bellevue is a machine with incredible autonomy, solid head and neck recon with good exposure to free fibs and the like, pretty strong in all areas (McCarthy thinks genital reconstruction is weak, but if that is your only weakness!), very strong volume which also means kiss 80hrs goodbye because these guys really work, no double scrubbing

    Cons: 3 years of gensurg nad during this time the operative experience is fairly weak, Bellvue is very tough and the residents do everything from start IVs, push patients, draw blood etc.., it is a top down militaristic program which might turn some people off, Tisch is a little more hands off but the residents still get a decent operative experience but nothing like Bellevue, many of their well-known faculty could be close to retirement within the next 6 years or sooner(McCarthy, Cutting, Ashton and maybe some others) but I am just guessing because of current age.

    2. Pitt
    Pros: amazing operative experience especially in reconstruction of every variety, some of the best autonomy available on every rotation, all of the head and neck cancer flaps recon is done by plastics, amazing in the OR teaching, Losee truly cares about the training of his residents, Rubin is the new chair and really nice guy, 18 months of gensurg (1.5 +4.5), research is amazing, great faculty, work hard but the residents are treated with respect, no double scrubbing

    Cons: almost no cosmetic (depends on your goals), these guys pile up the hours especially on the recon service which may not be a con to some, didactics is average, 7 years with that extra year in basic science research with no exception, at the interview they will tell you that they have no interest in training private practice PRS guys, with the loss of Andy Lee probably no more hand transplants

    3. Harvard
    Pros: great residents who treat medical students well and really get along, good case volume, good case variety, one of the largest programs in the country, 80hr work week is def. possible, solid didactics and curriculum, 2+4 so you get strong PRS exposure, well known faculty members

    Cons: one of the least hands on residency programs I personally interacted with, but I was only at MGH so it could be different at the other hospitals , frequent double scrubbing, attending's were very hands on, other friends have made similar comments to me about Harvard when comparing that program to others.

    4. Northwestern
    Pros: excellent clinical surgical experience, great residents, great faculty, happiest residents on the trail by far, 80hr work week very likely, there are no fellows and so the residents do every case, very strong case load, operative autonomy is amazing (only place I have seen a PGY-2 do a palate alone), really strong cosmetic, really strong craniofacial, breast and micro is also strong, PA's help with the floor work leaving the residents to pretty much just operate, 1.5+4.5 so strong PRS exposure, new childrens hospital opening, everything is pretty localized which limits a lot of driving all over the city, moonlighting during research year allows residents to save a considerable amount of money
    Cons: PRS does only about 50-60% of head and neck recon, craniofacial trauma was a weakeness but 6-8 months of cook county has been added which should fix that problem, recent faulty departure (Bauer, Few), Mustoe stepped down but is still pretty young (late 50s I believe) and still operates with the residents but nonetheless it must be considered, while hand surgery is pretty good for elective stuff there are not many replants, not as many "famous" faculty members as other institutions, 1 year of research required which might be a downside for some

    These are the programs that I either only interviewed at and/or heard about from others on the trail:

    5. UW
    Pros: great 3 years of plastic surgery, strong craniofacial, strong hand, residents very happy, good operative experience, strong volume, several household names in plastic surgery

    Cons: supposedly weaker operative experience in general surgery in the first 3 years, gen surg years are tough, there are a lot of fellows but the case load is strong, weak cosmetic training

    6. Upenn
    Pros: great 3 years of plastic surgery, great craniofacial and breast recon, well known faculty, appeared to be leaning towards a 1+5 in the future which would make this place amazing

    Cons: hand not as strong as other areas, 3 years of gen surg is supposedly miserable with prs residents being given the least desired rotations, although when on the entire trail I only met a couple of residents who did not absolutely hate gensurg and think it was overkill so this is not just isolated to this program, Whitaker is likely to leave soon

    7. UTSW
    Pros: Amazing training (very close to a 1+5, maybe 12 months of GS because Rohrich thinks GS is a waste and gives his residents bad habits. I agree with Rohrich). Whenever someone says the only thing that matters to them is getting the best surgical training I always say, "Go to UTSW." The courses that are available each year that other programs have to pay for in order to attend are amazing. The operative experience is phenomenal throughout every rotation and especially at parkland. The program is filled with heavy hitters. You are able to publish in PRS reflexively and when it is time to get a job you have Rohrich backing you. There is even a photography course to make sure you know how to utilize the camera appropriately and take pictures for your boards. Former residents were remarking that oral boards were a piece of cake after going through the didactic sessions led by Rohrich, Barton, Kenkel, and Janis. Tons of cosmo, recon, hand. The best organized interview day on the trail. While I did not end up at UTSW, nor did I rank it #1, I have no problem saying this is the best plastic surgery training program by the numbers.

    Cons: There is little head and neck recon., but that is almost every program except for NYU or Pitt. The program is on hand replant call 24hrs a day/365 days a year, which can be tough. The time at Parkland is tough and the residents work insane hours here...that place is no joke and is similar to Bellevue in NY. Militaristic program and the personality of that program is very tough. The entire interview day the faculty emphasized that they had changed and were no longer malignant but the residents were undercutting this message behind the scenes. The interns and PGY-2's thought the program wasn't malignant but the residents who had been in the program for several years did not hide it. Many of them stated that it was not a "happy place" but thought the training was top-notch, and some used the term malignant. A good friend of mine did a fellowship at UTSW recently and I talked with him about the place. He told me that unequivocally the residents were treated with an iron hand and some had openly second guessed their decision to come to UTSW. He told me that he would not have gone through it and unless you wanted to be a chairman then it was not worth it and even then. Rotators were split, some thinking that the program was mildly malignant and others feeling that the reputation was over blown. UTSW is painfully aware of their reputation and I believe tone it down for rotators and applicants, and doing something for 4 weeks is different than doing it for 6 years. Ask the residents that have been in the program for several years, not just the interns and pgy-2's, and see what they say. Be careful about doing this on the interview day because I got the feeling that applicants who seemed overly concerned about "resident treatment" did not appear to be heavily favored by staff or residents.

    8. Stanford
    Pros: Location. Tried to stay away from mentioning this but I felt this was one of the biggest strengths of Stanford. The people are awesome (residents and faculty) and so is the lifestyle. Gordon Lee is an great microsurgeon and teacher who is well thought of.
    Cons: Low operative volume is the main negative critique. Someone who rotated through Stanford, and was an amazing applicant, revealed to me that he would not even rank the program because of his opinion of the operative experience.

    9. University of Chicago (requested by PM)
    Pros: the faculty and residents were extraordinarily nice with the applicants and each other. They really emphasize fit which is underscored by the presentation they have each applicant prepare and present. Really solid reconstruction experience, described as the "soul" of the program by the chair. The craniofacial experience appears to be solid as well with Dr. Reid and Dr. Bauer leading the charge. Cannot really comment on autonomy because while I asked I got the plain response of, "Its pretty good."

    Cons: several cosmetic surgeons have been added but previously cosmo was low, rumored to have an average volume by some rotators. Nothing about the program personally floored me, but it seemed to be a decent program on most accounts. The first 3 years appeared to be mostly general surgery which was a turn off.

    10. UW Madison (Requested by PM)
    Pros: Bentz is an amazing chairman and fosters a nurturing environment for the residents. Bentz likes to focus on the "fit" of the applicants and on interview day said, "You can pretty much teach a monkey to to operate," but it was the intangibles that were difficult predict on one interview day. The operative experience is "solid" but the volume is not crazy by any means, a friend of my mine who rotated there said she would judge the resident operative experience as "most likely good enough"; while there Bentz indicated he was decreasing the amount of residents to two in order to achieve a better balance. The academics are average and I did not get the feel it was first priority or that the majority of the residents were dedicated to academic careers. With that being said, there were some exceptions and Bentz appeared to go out of his way to lend supports to residents inclined to pursue the research path. Great faculty, great residents, and everyone was really happy. It appeared to be a family program. Teaching is supposed to be very good in and out of the OR.

    Cons: Research not overwhelming and it appeared to more of a clinical program. Average volume, maybe a little on low side but not Stanford low (this is from a fellow rotator who visited both of these places). Low prestige factor, not many famous plastic surgeons (if that is important to you, it was not to me but thought I would mention it). I got the impression that the first three years was mostly gensurg.

    11 MCV
    Pros: Dr. Posez is quite nice and the residents appeared to be extraordinarily happy. Residents appeared happy with OR experience.

    Cons: Quite a small program with little emphasis on research(could be a positive). Not a high volume place with a lot of the "bells and whistles" that you would find at a more prestigous program.

    12. Georgetown
    Pros: Reportedly a very good operating experience. Work hard/play hard atmosphere. Get to work with some big names such as Spear, Nahabedian(sp?), and Posnick. Decent recon. Spear is a strong advocate of integrated PRS and GS time is limited. Mostly positive comments by rotators. There were some fellows at my home program who were recent G-Town grads and they had great things to say about their training.

    Cons: Weaker in craniofacial and hand. The program is very breast heavy, which depending on your goals could be a positive or negative. A resident who graduated from G-TOWN said Spear was supposedly retiring in the next 3 years, but who knows if that means retiring all together or just stepping down as chair. Some rotators felt the atmosphere was best suited for a former athlete because it had a jock or frat house feel. The hours are supposedly tough according to some rotators and residents. Although reportedly a great teacher, Dr. Spear can be difficult but he only really works with chief residents. If if he left in three years then the new incoming residents would not work with him much.

    Got tired of writing, but feel free to PM me with any questions about specific programs and if I can give any help I will. I hope to encourage other applicants to give their feedback on programs to start a running dialogue.

    Sorry for any typos
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
    alamo4 likes this.
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  3. TupacalipseT96

    TupacalipseT96 R U Still Down? 7+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Great post. Thank you for this, it is very informative.

    I would love to hear about Stanford and UTSW too... as well as other's input on these programs.
  4. PlastikeInfo

    PlastikeInfo 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2011
    Added my opinions of UTSW, Stanford, and someone asked for via PM UC so I added that one as well. Remember these are mostly just my opinions from my personal experiences and others may disagree.

    I have also been asked about rotations frequently and while they are required there are some caveats. At many high powered programs it appeared they had their pick of the litter and did not bend over backwards to accommodate rotators for interviews unless they were really impressed. Not just, "this person came and got along with everyone." The flip side of that coin is a contingent of applicants who rotate and are superstars on paper, these people are the ones who typically will lock a program down. This can become painfully obvious on the interview trail when you can see someone being recruited for a spot in front of you. Bottom line: "If you are a star or superstar and destroy a rotation (well read, well liked etc...) then you can drastically improve your chances at matching at a particular program. If you are a solid applicant and destroy the rotation, while your chances are much improved, some programs may still pass you over. For instance Harvard does not care if you rotate or not for the most part and consistently interview the best people they can get their hands on. Hopkins was incredibly popular this year and a rapidly up and coming program with the addition of Andy Lee, straight 1+5 curriculum, and decent lifestyle compared to other big name programs. Hopkins had so many rotators which were all-stars on paper that if you did not rotate there it was almost impossible to make a dent on one interview day. NYU was in the same boat, many great rotators who could marginalize a simply "solid" applicant.
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  5. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    May 1, 2001
    I would agree that UTSW is the most balanced program across the board that I'm aware of. It's not for everyone though, and it's a really intense culture. I have so much respect for the organizational skill and demand for excellence that that Dr Rohrich fosters. That is so hard to do and I appreciate it more coming from a place that was much more loosely organized. That being said, I think I got better trained in what I actually do on a day to day basis then a place that is so well balanced across disciplines most of us will never use

    I would not get caught up in some of the esoterica of these programs. You do not need to be choosing a program by the number of hand/face transplants, complex peds cases, or great toe pollicizations they do. Think about what you're going to need to do practice and be mindful of where the future of medicine is going. Complex reconstruction cases will be done by fewer and fewer surgeons in tertiary centers. You're not going to be doing replants and perforator flaps in community practice as the infrastructure and financial support are not there. When you finish you need to be able to basic hand surgery, skin grafts and local facial flaps, skin cancers, common breast procedures (reductions, mastopexy, expanded reconstructions,), simple facial fractures, and somewhat familiar with most basic cosmetic procedures (abdominoplast, liposuction, weight loss body contouring). everything else comes with time.
  6. PlastikeInfo

    PlastikeInfo 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2011
    That is an interesting perspective, the counterpoint appears to be that greater exposure to varying aspects of plastic surgery will make you an overall better plastic surgeon. Although, I have heard the same argument for about performing whipple's and gallbladders being able to make you a better plastic surgeon. I am too inexperienced to respectfully evaluate either of these opinions.

    While performing a rotation, one of chairman thought that complex reconstruction would increase at tertiary centers and community plastic surgeons would move to academic centers for better/more complex cases. He thought this would be driven by a decrease in operative cosmetic surgery as patients will move toward more non-operative procedures, and other specialties increase their involvement in cosmetic procedures. Dr.Oliver, do you think this is untrue?
  7. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    May 1, 2001
    I would disagree (kind of). While I take pride in being fluent in a huge amount of things, Plastic surgery is actually kind of balkanizing into more and more distinct subgroups apart from the modern core of practice. Most do no peds or microsurgery. Burns and wound care have been largely abandoned. Fewer and fewer of us do any hand. The techniques and anatomy (particularly for the peds and hand cases) really don't translate to other cases.

    No disrespect, but that person's logic is dodgy and I suspect they may be only peripherally familiar with the business side of things (which is common in academics as billing,collections, contracts. etc. are frequently largely handled by the institution at Universities or multi-speciality clinics). It would take unimaginable changes to the way we get paid to initiate some stampede into surgeons filing back to the ivory towers to start doing complex reconstruction cases. It's clear that everything we do for insurance is going to continue and be progressively devalued as there's no money to pay for it. No matter how competitive the environment for cosmetic services, there's no sustainable business model for a part time tertiary reconstructive surgery practice as the infrastructure is 100% different then a cosmetic surgery practice. People interested in complex reconstruction or hand are going to be subsidized and/or salaried employees
  8. Valadi

    Valadi 5+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2010
    Thanks for this information PlastikeInfo. Do you have any information on programs like Mt. Sinai, Einstein/Montefiore, Georgetown, and MCV? In addition, do you guys know how much where you do your residency influences competitiveness for fellowship positions, as well as future career track? I imagine that since PRS is so competitive that most programs are of pretty high regard, but I keep having this nagging feeling that I should do GS at a top-tier program and then shoot for PRS fellowship in the ivy tower after that as well because it may somehow have an impact on my future.

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  9. PlastikeInfo

    PlastikeInfo 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2011
    I do not have any info on Einstein but I remember hearing some positive things on the trail. I will add some information conerning MCV and Gtown in the above post. IMHO, if you can get into a plastic surgery position then go for it, I would recommend going for a lesser known plastic surgery position over a prestigous GS spot. The time you save by going integrated could be used to do some fellowships, or you could apply to both PRS and some top GS programs. There were some PRS applicants on the trail that ended up at some decent GS places such as Mayo, UCSF, and UWash after not matching into PRS. From what I hear those are solid residency positions. Also keep in mind that PRS is separating somewhat from GenSurg with GS being less applicable to the skills needed for PRS, or so I am told by my mentors and upper levels.

    Harvard is crazy competitive (as is Stanford, NYU, and UWash) they are highly accolade focused even in an already highly competitve residency application process. I did not feel they were the "best" residency program but the H-Stamp was highly attractive to fellow applicants. So even if you do not get into Harvard there are plently of other programs that will give you a shot.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  10. Valadi

    Valadi 5+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2010
    Bumping this thread. If any people who have recently been going through the interview process can add that would be great. Thanks!
  11. endostitch

    endostitch 2+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Pros: Great location on the upper east side of Manhattan. Residents seem really nice and a very tight-knit group. Chief emphasizes that the residents are family to him, which was really appreciated. Overall their clinical experience seems to be very good, they cover most of their bases pretty well and their volume isn't as issue. Their clinical research is strong, but they do no real basic research that residents can participate in. Resident aesthetic clinic out in Queens. In addition to hand they also do some upper extremity/brachial plexus work I believe.

    Cons: The experience can't compare to NYU and the chief, Dr. Silver, readily admits that this program is not in the same league. Apparently the chair of general surgery hates plastics. Life on the general surgery years is supposedly pretty tough and the residents are made to take the undesirable calls and rotations, etc. You also have to travel to Queens and upstate NY for some rotations during the plastics years.
  12. Member 423142

    Member 423142

    Nov 21, 2011
    Any info on UVA, Missouri, Cincinnati or Wake? Thanks.
  13. EmoryGrad

    EmoryGrad 2+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2011
    Pros: Excellent collegiality and there appears to be a great relationship between residents and faculty; faculty are very interested in resident education and amenable to changing things based on feedback; excellent hands-on training during cases, no fellows, and, from what I've been told, their senior residents are technically proficient; good support and affordable cost of living if you already have a family or are considering raising a family in residency; good breadth of exposure to most aspects of plastic surgery with strong craniofacial and breast; chairman seemed like a great guy who is well respected and who cares about creating a family atmosphere for the program

    Cons: Columbia is a small, midwestern college town, so obviously you're going to miss out on the NY/DC/ChiTown/LA city atmosphere if you or your spouse/significant other is interested in that (it is close to Kansas City and St. Louis); even without fellows, it appears that the operative volume is average; didn't appear to be a whole lot of lab research going on (of course that could be resident choice); if prestige is something you value, then it has less of a pedigree reputation when compared with other midwest programs (Michigan/Wash U/NW/etc...), however, that didn't seem to affect fellowship placement at all, not as heavy on didactics as some of the more academic programs (again, this could be a pro or a con depending on what you're looking for)

    Overall: Appeared to be a very strong and stable program where people genuinely value creating a collegial resident and faculty work environment
  14. IBM2010


    Jul 6, 2011

    Does anyone have any information on the programs at Baylor and Cornell?
  15. March16th


    Feb 11, 2012
    Hey guys, I am a 3rd year student right now trying to figure out where to rotate next year. Any info/review of the programs at wake forest or grand rapids? Thanks! Good luck on march 16th!
  16. Moravian

    Moravian Surgery Forum Mentor SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Amen brother. I learned so much about the business side AFTER my residency. I really try to give my residents an insight and suggest they all go to the seminars at ASPS on starting practices in their 5th year. I would also agree on the depth of education. Most if not all programs will give a good education in the basics. A nice thing about the more "intense" programs is that you get a look at some areas you might not otherwise get exposed to which may pique interest in that subspecialty area (it's how I got into craniofacial).

    Probably the most important question after one figures out what kind of plastic surgeon they want to be, is "How are you going to get paid?" This is not to assume we're all money rubbing bastards, but you can't run a practice (or pay of your loans) with chickens and charity.
  17. Footprints13

    Footprints13 5+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2010
    Thought I would bump this thread, see if any of the newly matched 2012s had any more input or additional program info.
  18. davidtie


    Apr 4, 2012
  19. Surgerize


    Nov 4, 2011
    It's very difficult to get a true sense of programs from a brief interview day/weekend. I'd encourage everyone to take advantage of advice, but also to take all advice with caution. Different people have different goals and personalities and are thus interested in different kinds of programs. There is no 'best' program, and what one person perceives as a weakness another person may see as a strength. The standards for programs to gain accreditation are stringent, and all programs are stellar. My goal is to be an academic surgeon, and I was looking for a strong, academic program with high volume and resident autonomy. That being said, here are my impressions, pro's and con's for programs I was fortunate to visit.

    In no particular order

    1. SIU - A very strong program with very well-known and supportive faculty. Patients may not recognize the name on your wall, but your colleagues will know and respect it.

    Pros- Operative experience seems good, mentorship style of training, supportive faculty and hospital, opportunities for research

    Cons- Springfield is a little dumpy, not a whole lot to do, which may not matter depending on your life situation, also for this institution plastics is really the only name in the business, other specialties aren't well known.

    2. Kentucky - A very well-known regional program. Hand surgery, which can be weak elsewhere, is strong here. Lexington is a nice town.

    Pros- Good clinical training, happy residents, faculty were very friendly.

    Cons- Not a research powerhouse. Head and neck recon?

    3. Harvard - Big name, big hospitals. They present themselves well, although the interview process can be a little off-putting for some.

    Pros- H stamp, big name faculty, research opportunities, Boston is fun

    Cons- Resident autonomy is the big question, seems very fellow driven.

    4. Mt. Sinai - Some big name faculty, happy residents, good location in Manhattan but would agree with prior posts that it is regarded as the #2 NYC.

    Pros- Supportive faculty, well rounded (caveat, see below)

    Cons- For broad experience, have to rotate all around and outside of the NYC area, commuting is a must.

    5. Kansas - Seemed to be moving in the right direction, it's a department, curriculum changes, etc. Readily acknowledged weaknesses but also attempts to improve program

    Pros- KC is actually a fun town, easy to access east and west coast. Hospital is the regional mother ship. Making the right moves

    Cons- No hand surgeon when I interviewed there, residents were a mixed bag, some attendings complained about resident work-ethic and ability, which was off-putting.

    6. UCSF- Strong clinical training, good combination of learning how to do it at UC and then doing it yourself at SFGH. Residents are happy, although this is a place where you are expected to work. San Francisco is also a great city.

    Pros- Location, location, location. Strong training, friendly faculty, big name medical center.

    Cons- The advantage of lots of hospitals is a disadvantage when you have to commute between them. General surgery training is strong but brutal.

    7. VCU- Richmond is nice, residents seem happy, relatively balanced program.

    Pros- See above

    Cons- Smaller-ish program, although expanding

    8. Northwestern- Definitely a midwest powerhouse academic institution.

    Pros- Amazing location, very, very happy residents and great faculty

    Cons- Hand experience is weak, although you rotate to SIU to augment

    9. MCW- Strong clinical training, craniofacial is strong, which is generally weak at many places

    Pros- see above, also well paid residents for cost of living

    Cons- Milwaukee can go either way, you live well but it's no Chicago, depends on what you're looking for

    10. Penn- Balanced program, big name faculty, big name institution.

    Pros- as stated above

    Cons- I've heard that it's fellow heavy, also general surgery is supposed to be brutal

    11. UC Irvine- Surprisingly well-balanced program

    Pros- Variety, location, very happy residents, other interviewers (including this one) tended to leave this interview quite attracted to the program. Aesthetic is strong here.

    Cons- SoCal isn't for everybody, more clinical, not a ton of research, very private practice (once again, depends on what you're looking for)

    12. Hopkins/Maryland- An old program that has recently seen a surge of popularity with the addition of Andy Lee.

    Pros- New big names (in addition to the old big names), new hospital, very integrated w/o much general surgery training

    Cons- Baltimore, otherwise very strong program.

    13. Yale- Another generally well balanced program

    Pros- building up micro practice, residents seemed happy

    Cons- New Haven? Craniofacial?

    14. UTSW- big name, big state

    Pros- The Rorich. Very academic, no shortage of volume, residents work hard and learn well. A proven model with a proven result. I don't think you'll find the balance and volume of this program anywhere with the exception of NYU.

    Cons- Too much attention paid to how they aren't malignant... may have contributed to the 2 unmatched spots last year.

    15. Dartmouth- Smallish program, very focused on education and personalizing the experience.

    Pros- They were very focused on finding residents that would be a good fit, surprisingly insightful interviews. Health services research is big here. Hospital is very nice.

    Cons- Hannover is not for everybody. One resident per class (plus or minus)

    16. Georgetown- Big name in plastics, big name faculty

    Pros- DC is fun, lots of research and publication opportunities

    Cons- Very breast heavy, hand and craniofacial aren't perceived as strengths

    17. NYPH- They seem to be making the right moves to take this program to the next level, it's now integrated, some big name younger faculty, good mix of experiences between Cornell/Columbia/Harlem Hospital.

    Pros- see above, also great subsidized housing

    Cons- Regionally the clinical training is not perceived as being as strong as NYU and Sinai.

    18. NYU- Big name faculty, the mother ship of plastics for NYC. Very academic.

    Pros- Bellevue. Residents run the show, tons of micro, replants, head and neck, no double scrubbing. Tisch is attending focused but residents still operate all day. Also rotate through MSK, Cornell burn, and the Manhattan VA among others.

    Cons- Bellevue. As mentioned above it's a toxic environment. General surgery is not the best, although a big name in NYC. Kiss the 80-hour work week goodbye.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  20. salice


    Jul 13, 2009
    Does anyone have any info about USC? Thanks!
  21. toetothumb


    Nov 5, 2012
    One overlooked program...did a rotation here as a med student, and really liked it.

    Brown University/RI Hospital
    New chairman, Paul Liu (harvard trained/basic scientist/incredibly nice guy). RI Hospital has one of the largest referral areas in southern new england (RI, northern CT, southern/western Mass). General recon: tons of trauma. Third busiest ER in the nation by volume, giving you lots of recon cases upper/lower extremity. Breast: Lots of breast recon and cosmetic. Craniofacial: (two excellent surgeons, Dr. Mulliken fellow trained and toronto sick children's trained husband/wife duo)...tons cranial vaults, tons of clefts, and of course tons of mandibles and complex face recon. RI does have a motorcycle helmet free law. Hand: Harvard fellowship trained attendings for hand/micro (replants, peripheral nerve etc.), congenital hand and bread/butter stuff. Lots of cosmetic cases especially face (designated cosmo guys that operate 3days/week). General surgery time has decreased significantly since integration (this year), and the hellish rotations are no longer required (2 yrs of GS spread over 3 years, 4-6 yrs plastics only. Three months of elective time over 3 years in one month blocks set aside for travel to partner institutions in resource poor settings (African countries, Haiti), research, visiting rotations across us (fellowship tryouts). Good fellowship match outcomes for micro (buncke, UPenn) and hand (harvard, nyu), also a decent number in private practice cosmo.
    Soft tissue head and neck is low in numbers, but adequate for boarding. Busy general surgery training with intense ICU and trauma rotations during second year. Home call (some folks like this). Resident covers RI Hospital and VA call. Providence is a small town but nice town. It's close enough to Boston, Newport, beaches etc.
  22. Chinkeewee

    Chinkeewee 7+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2007
    Does anyone have any experience with interviewing/rotating at UMDNJ? Any advice/input is appreciated. Thank you!
  23. iamahippo

    iamahippo 7+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    New York, NY
    MS1 here. Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly does "double scrubbing" mean? I can't seem to find its definition on Google. Thanks!
  24. sevenmints

    sevenmints 5+ Year Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    First scrub = 1st assistant in case
    Double scrube = 2 assistants in a case.

    or perhaps the more notorious.. attending surgeon running two cases at once...(been known to happen).
  25. Moravian

    Moravian Surgery Forum Mentor SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    At our place, it means two attendings are scrubbing in one case thereby delegating residents to a minor role (but not always).
  26. rueby25

    rueby25 7+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2008
    Saw requests for these two and noticed no one had responded. Thought I would chime in.


    General- Seems like a decent program. Residents seem happy, though an interesting mix of personalities. Watched youtube videos in the conference room while waiting for interviews, so that should tell you a bit about the atmosphere (pretty laid back). Dr. Kitzmiller seems like a great chairman. Was very engaging in the interview and had a positive outlook for the future of the program. Definitely focused on adding more basic science research to the mix. Two faculty are recent SIU grads, which seems to add to the collegiality of the program.

    Pros- Strong pediatrics/craniofacial department. 1+5 format with very little Gen Surg (plus or minus). Well known gen surg program (Mont Reid handbook), which is plus for time spent on gen surg. Attendings for all areas (hand, micro, breast recon, peds CF, cosmo). Good integration from the start with a strong didactic core. Cincinnati is a big city with a small town feel. Pretty inexpensive cost of living with minimal traffic/congestion issues. Definitely not for everyone.

    Cons- Questionable interpersonal dynamics. The residents seemed to get along, but there were some alarming statements made by a few residents about one of the faculty (neither of which will be named for obvious reasons). 1 resident per year for integrated, add one resident through fellowship for 4-6 (plus or minus). Question of whether the hand surgeon would be leaving in the near future.

    Overall seemed like a decent program, but there were others that I liked more.


    Wake Forest:

    General- A very balanced program. 2 residents per year, both integrated. Located in Winston-Salem, which is a bit on the small side, but also a college town. Plenty to do and cost of living is pretty low. About an hour from greensboro and 90 minutes from Raleigh/Durham or Charlotte (opposite directions). Two hours from the mountains and three hours from the beach. Usually stays above 45F year round per the residents. Residents seem happy. They admit that they work hard while on service, but definitely mesh well with each other and the attendings.

    Pros- Extremely balanced program with good numbers in micro, peds CF (tons), hand and cosmo. Huge catchment area and residents report that they see some of the more atypical cases that you might expect to go to Duke or UNC, but actually end up at Wake. Dedicated 6 month chief cosmo experience at beautiful cosmetic center about 10 minutes from Baptist Hospital. Tons of money (hold over from Argenta's wound vac). Lots of perks, including a tablet/computer, SLR camera, annual book fund and 2 mission trips paid for and not taken from vacation. Clinical site for plastics is all at Baptist hospital (except when doing cosmo clinic), so no driving to multiple hospitals for consults/rounding. Faculty are all very kind and dedicated to the program. Research is phenomenal, with lots of support, including PhD staff. Dedicated research time. 1.5+4.5 model with a service style approach (as opposed to mentorship style), but gen surg time also includes community gen surg, which is reportedly very laid back. Didactics are good. They supply materials (surgical texts and materials) and also have a mock oral boards. The chair and PD both seem to care a great deal about the residents.

    Cons- Perhaps heavy on Craniofacial (4 faculty, including chairman and PD) who do a significant amount of CF/pediatric work (can be plus or minus). Was reassured by a friend who rotated there that the balance was indeed pretty good. Micro faculty is newer and a little on the slow side with surgeries (10-12 hours with DIEPs?) and can be intense in the OR (pimps a lot, which is good and bad). Argenta is no longer operating, so some of the more "radical" CF procedures may stop coming in. He is staying on as an emeritus faculty to teach, however.

    Overall a really nice program. I liked a great deal of what I saw. Great benefits, especially if you want to get into some serious research. Great numbers and a quality part of the country to live in. Residents also seemed like a great group of individuals.

    I hope these help. Good luck to all future applicants, as well as current applicants awaiting next weeks' results.
  27. marathon261


    Mar 10, 2013
    Agree, it seemed as though there was some weirdness between the senior residents. I didn't hear the "alarming statements" about faculty other than some of the usual "Dr X can be a pain in the ass" kind of stuff.

    Do you mean the young Hand guy from SIU? I didn't get the impression that he was leaving. The residents didn't seem to be too opinionated about him in either direction -- they seemed to think he was fine, but wasn't their favorite.

    I was surprised at how many faculty weren't around for the interview there. The two faculty that the residents seemed to like most were MIA.
  28. Footprints13

    Footprints13 5+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2010
    I thought I would add some additional programs to this. I utilized the previous posts to get background on which programs I rotated at and thought I would pass it forward to future medical students. These are just my opinions from a single interview day and nothing more. These residency programs were all very good and trained good plastic surgeons and while I never believed it before this whole application process, fit is the most important component of any residency program you will be entering and some of the programs I reviewed are very good but I didn't fit there and that might have come off in my reviews.



    Tons of independent autonomy.
    Well rounded in cosmetic, breast, good name,
    Friendly attending/resident relationship.
    Lots of attendings/hospital to get patients
    Moonlighting 4th year and on
    Residents had your back/big family
    Chair is very personable
    Hours seem pretty chill
    Call 1 in 9 and 6 weekends a year
    Q2 hand Q3 face
    4 conferences a month with resident run, 4 w/o
    2 hours of conference/week


    A bunch of hospitals you have to drive around
    Not sure about hand numbers
    Changing program, newly integrated, though they have had an under the table combined program for years
    No book funds, minimal conference attendance
    Not a lot of head and neck reconstruction
    Conferences not mandatory/protected in first 3 years.


    This is a friendly program where they work hard, learn a ton, and can operate autonomously leaving. Minimal hand holding so have to push for things but they are amenable to that.

    Loma Linda


    Good cosmetic experience
    Wide variety of cases
    Independent clinic chief year, where resident can get as many cases as they can, not just cosmetic
    Good Faculty relationships with residents
    Research will be directed by residents
    Growing program
    Amenable to changes in curriculum
    International mission focus


    Not sure about autonomy early in career
    Don’t always pay for conferences attended
    No coffee in hospital/no meat
    Lots of meetings on Sunday per faculty
    Minimal plastic surgery experience first 2 years


    A good program with good numbers graduating competent plastic surgeons, but may not help in academic world, probably more private practice focus upon graduation

    Wake Forest


    Tons of plastic surgery
    2 paid for mission trips
    Private practice gen surgery and dedicated research months allow more family time in the first 3 years
    Cheap cost of living
    They give you tons of books each year
    Send you to any conference presenting at
    Pay for meals
    A lot of autonomy
    Tons of craniofacial, and facial trauma, good cosmetic volume
    Resident cosmetic clinic
    Good research ability for resident to direct their own research
    Business focused
    Family oriented program/work hard


    Rounding at end of day, have to wait until all cases are finished
    Not knowing what cases to prepare for until late the night before
    Microsurgeon with very long cases, would probably need a micro fellowship afterwards
    Brutal Call 2 weeks a month on both hand and face
    Light on Hand, no distal radius, but still enough
    Questionable funding sources with changes at hospital


    Great program, will give great training and one can be fully independent after graduation.

    Southern Illinois


    Tons of Hand
    Good faculty resident interaction
    Good group of residents
    Time for family
    Good hours
    Travel to Northwestern in year 5 for craniofacial
    True research lab
    Cost of living is low
    Laid back town
    Big city close by
    Could run own research projects
    Not malignant at all
    2 weekends on a month, so have time to do other things
    Do have ability to do mission work


    No true cosmetic clinic
    Residents leaving program
    Minimal facial cosmetics
    Not a big name program
    Not deep training in all aspects of plastics
    Would need a fellowship in aesthetics probably
    Minima l perforator flap recon
    Small town, no easy way to travel there directly


    This is a smaller family oriented program, would have great hand training, minimal craniofacial and facial cosmetics

    UTMB Galveston


    Resident camaraderie
    Good Faculty-Resident interaction
    A lot of complex hand
    Above average cosmetic
    Low cost of living
    Well connected program director, big on networking
    Research driven by residents
    2-3 weekends off q month
    Good mix of private practice and academic
    Send residents to full meeting if they present
    Tons of Burns
    Department of Corrections- get all plastics cases for entire state of Texas
    TON OF AUTONOMY, senior residents walking junior residents through cases
    Early plastic surgery, 3,6,8 months specifically plastics in first 3 years
    Big network of former residents for jobs in future
    A lot of Visiting professors


    Minimal Micro experience
    Not a lot of trauma
    Growing craniofacial
    Not putting a lot of residents in academics
    Traveling to Houston, and sites outside of Galveston


    This is a program, where you could graduate being a competent plastic surgeon. There is time for extracurricular activities and family. Chiefs not always confident in complex micro, though they feel comfortable going out on their own. Dr. Phillips is well connected and will help residents get a position after residency. This is a place with good training and still good family time.



    Big name program
    Huge operative volume
    Tons of Hand, Cranio, Micro
    Good faculty interaction
    Family atmosphere, kids are welcome and supported
    Outdoor activities, active lifestyle
    Great location
    12 weekends on/year for call, on whole weekend, but 1 person on Harborview (heavy call) other on light call
    Residents are family
    Passionate program looking for team environment
    Conference support, 5 days total for conference presentation


    Minimal cosmetic, increasing, but they still get enough numbers
    Questionable amount of autonomy/watching operation on craniofacial peds per residents
    Higher cost of living
    3 years of gen surg, though it is becoming more integrated/might have different rotations
    No international rotations
    Really busy first 3 years in gen surg
    Residents stated not comfortable with facelifts/cosmetics but still have many going into private practice


    This is a great program, top tier, great name, with great faculty who want to make residents excel. This is a huge volume program, but definitely on a manageable schedule, could have a family,especially in the plastics years with the 1-2 weekends on call a month. Growing cosmetic practice where residents have a significant amount of hands on experience. Definitely could get research done if motivated, but minimal statistical support. Overall, would get a great education here and be able to get any job or fellowship one wanted.

    Grand Rapids


    Community program
    Lots of cosmetic and hand
    1 in 6 weekends on during plastics
    1 in 2 weekends call during first 3 years
    Minimal General surgery
    Very integrated
    Good fellowship placements
    Understand business of private practice/ how to run a practice
    No double scrubbing
    Pay for conferences
    Can do own research
    Lots of money for benefits
    Low cost of living


    Minimal microsurgery/craniofacial
    Have to drive to different hospitals to round or take call
    Not big academic background
    Minimal research infrastructure, no basic science
    Residents seemed very concerned about having time off (this could be a positive to some)


    This would be a less intensive program, working 60-70 hours a week with weekends off. There are good faculty who are very hands on and teach you a lot and you learn a ton of cosmetic surgery. Residents are a little more worried about lifestyle than I would like.



    Good lifestyle
    Cheap place to live
    Decent amount of autonomy, with seniors teaching juniors
    Large amount of peds plastics
    A lot of hand that resident is doing not simply watching
    No fellows
    Great hours, rounding starts at 7am
    Pay for conferences presenting at
    Lot of MOHS recon
    Could do own research


    Small faculty
    A little bit of an inferiority complex with WashU so close
    Average cosmetic volume, lots of watching
    Want to train good clinicians primarily rather than clinician scientist
    PD can be a little eccentric
    Poor research infrastructure


    This is a program with a lot of early plastics and minimal general surgery. Minimal research assistance, all on residents own.



    Big name program
    Tons of operative experience
    No deficiencies in training
    Great Fellowship/Job placement
    Hard working residents
    Tons of autonomy
    Exceptional training
    2 year resident clinic
    Heavy in Hand/Micro/Cosmetic/Craniofacial
    Residents seem stressed but happy
    Publish a lot
    Send to meetings, all meetings present to and some free meetings
    Residents go to Dallas Rhino and Cosmetic symposium, Ab well recon symposium, breast symposium free of charge
    Faculty want to train great residents
    Program continually changes to improve
    Elective time 6th year
    Relatively cheap cost of living


    Some rotations crazy busy
    Conference can be painful
    Always uncomfortable (this is the goal of the program, per Rohrich, to make sure you don't become complacent)
    Hard on family life
    6th year still being reworked
    Not always able to do own research


    Big name program, questionable social life, but residents say its there. They want the residents to succeed. The program’s goal is to make you the best plastic surgeon you can become

    Mount Sinai


    A lot of resident autonomy- true chief clinic and block OR time
    Can do own research
    Great Faculty who really care about the residents
    Nice program, not mean/malignant
    Close group of residents
    Multiple different hospitals
    Loads of Community surgeons to study from
    Good fellowship placement
    Great Attending to Resident relationship, texting and hanging out
    Good schedule with time off


    Expensive location
    Not a national name for job opportunities, but residents do ok
    Questionable hands on experience with some of the community surgeons
    Just starting integrated were a combined program, so will have issues that come up
    Need to have a car


    Mid size program in an expensive city, with great faculty who really care about resident education. Would probably have family time. The interview day was a little haphazard and not well organized with faculty coming and going.

    Texas A&M


    Lots of volume
    Great operating experience
    Chief feels well equipped to handle anything plastic surgery related
    Wrist scopes and complex hand and wrist done
    Early plastic surgery involvement, with minimal gen surgery
    Funding for research
    Support for travel
    Cost of living is very cheap
    Close to Austin and Dallas
    No fellows
    Residents are a family
    Faculty care about resident education


    Not a big name program
    Medium amount of peds/craniofacial
    Medium amount of cosmetic surgery
    Very few replants
    Growing faculty but still small
    Very small city


    Mid size program, with large operating volume in the bread and butter plastic surgery programs, 5th year seemed really confident in their Micro skills, chief with no issues at all, would receive great training, program is pushing to become more academic and produce academicians, as well as trying to become a top 5 plastic surgery program. They are growing and adding faculty in addition to trying to become a department.
  29. rvp227

    rvp227 2+ Year Member

    Jan 19, 2014
    Bumping this thread hoping for some input from current applicants. Any info would be appreciated!
  30. Sir Gillies

    Sir Gillies 5+ Year Member

    May 5, 2012
    Hi guys,

    does anyone have more details (pros/cons) about Johns Hopkins?

    Thanks in advance
  31. Senior Vampa

    Senior Vampa

    Feb 21, 2014
    Does anyone have any info on OHSU? Haven't heard anything about the program.
  32. SDplastics


    Oct 3, 2012
    I interviewed there last year.
    Definitely a very solid program, lots of staff, they pride themselves on aiming to become the best training program in plastic surgery. Academics and didactics seems very well organized. Their interview day and presentation was impressive. I got the impression that resident autonomy was more than sufficient.
    They flat out say they don't really do aesthetic plastic surgery... And a couple of the residents told me there is not much operating during the first year. You do the "required" rotations like anesthesia, OMFS, consults, lack real OR time (during first year).
  33. ctusfinest

    ctusfinest 7+ Year Member

    Jun 30, 2009
    A few great programs that I don't see up here yet:

    Most likely the best burn experience in the country with the BRAC.
    Strong history
    Well respected plastic surgeons. Chair is very forward thinking.
    Of course a great location in Chapel Hill.

    Not a lot of hand surgery. Chair does some through burn center but not primary focus.
    Not a large program surgeon-wise but will likely add at least 1 in the coming years.

    Newly integrated but has great mentors and good connection with its long history as an independent program. Residents seem to get along very well and are interested in teaching the residents below them. Definitely the place to go if you are interested in burn recon.

    Ohio St.
    Very fast growing program.
    Big names including Janis and Miller.
    Well balanced throughout all components of plastic surgery.
    Great environment among residents.

    Large program resident wise with 12 upper levels (6 integrated and 6 independent) and 6 lower levels. Also micro, craniofacial, and aesthetic fellows. As of now has enough surgeons to prevent much double scrubbing.
    Not sure about the amount of hand surgery.
    Rebuilding the micro component of the program with a couple of the surgeons leaving last year.

    No longer a growing program because its as established as it gets at this point. A great place to train. Not clear if environment will change at all as Janis has come from UTSW, however, every indication says no.

    High volume department with a VA and a large community hospital
    Strong craniofacial training
    MD Anderson
    Publishes well despite not having a dedicated research year
    New chair is well-connected and is aggressive with growing the division.

    Residents say calls are very tough because you cover multiple hospitals.
    Division not department (Personally I don't know if this really affects training, maybe someone can chime in with their opinion)
    Tough general surgery years

    Busy well balanced program with reportedly good autonomy. Good teamwork environment among the residents, many went out after the interview dinner. Many surgeons in Houston trained at Baylor.
  34. uvasean

    uvasean 5+ Year Member

    Feb 11, 2011
    Thanks for the helpful reviews! Any info on WashU, Penn state, or Mayo?
  35. plasticsur

    plasticsur plasticsurgery 2+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2013
    NYU: one of the top plastic surgery programs; most well-known faculty ; very academic; lots of head and neck micro; lots of excellent rotations through VA, Sloan Kettering, Bellevue. Tough hours but great operative experience.

    Georgetown: well-known and friendly faculty; lots of breast reconstruction

    UTSW: most well known plastics program. Tons of volume and incredibly academic. Residents work hard but get great experience. This should be a top choice. Editor of PRS is here.

    UC Irvine: SoCal! This was one of my top choices. Incredible location, happy residents, tons of cosmetic surgery and clinical work. If you want to do private practice cosmetics, this is the place for you.

    USF: One of my favorite programs. Lots of hospitals (VA, Tampa General). Very friendly residents and attendings. They let students do a ton. 1 year of general surgery and 5 of plastics! Tons of clinical and operative experience. I did a few breast free flaps here a week. Lots of burn recon (one of the only burn centers in Florida). The chair of general surgery is the same as the chair of plastics!!!

    Baylor: very busy (and amazing) medical center and dept of surgery; tons of operative experience in multiple hospitals. High volume; very strong craniofacial training and MD Anderson rotation.

    Ohio State: excellent faculty; very well rounded and big program and great residents. Lots of micro.
  36. DIEP1


    Apr 9, 2015
    These are my observations from an away rotation:

    Overall impression: top tier program with excellent faculty, tons of operative experience including micro, functional muscle transfers, and complex peripheral nerve surgery, only place I saw with resident led reconstructive, hand, and cosmetic clinics. You will get great training and get whatever fellowship or job you want.

    1/5 program with 1 year of true General Surgery rotations, and 5 years of Plastics
    Lots of volume with great operating experience, and exposure to all the complex reconstructive cases you want
    Have resident clinics for cosmetic, hand, and reconstruction - residents see the patients, decide on a plan, and do the case with faculty supervision - Like a Bellevue (NYU) or Parkland (UTSW) experience, but with greater case complexity and variability.
    NIH funded Plastics research opportunities
    Flexibility for research time if wanted, but not required
    Support for travel to meetings
    Big name program with well known names in Plastic Surgery/Nerve Surgery: Mackinnon, Brandt, Tung
    Great hand experience with exposure to cutting edge peripheral nerve surgery
    Residents graduate and get the fellowships/jobs that they want
    St. Louis is affordable
    Residents are happy and feel well trained
    Faculty are friendly and take education and mentorship seriously

    Average volume in head and neck reconstruction - trying to remedy with a new faculty member
    Big, busy program - you will work hard
    Average volume in lower extremity recon
    St. Louis may be a con for some
  37. s_bball828


    Mar 22, 2015
    Does anyone have information on the UCLA integrated program? I haven't been able to find much at all on it.

    Any impressions from away rotations / interviews??
  38. GRMEP / MSU PRS Resident

    GRMEP / MSU PRS Resident

    May 26, 2015
  39. wioneo


    Feb 14, 2017
    Anyone have experience with Duke's program?

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