Surgery resident age limit?

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by mw314, Apr 24, 2004.

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  1. mw314

    mw314 New Member

    Apr 24, 2004
    I am an undergrad and I passed my MCAT. However, I will be 29 years old when I begin medical school. I am wondering if I will be too old to choose surgery as a career. In addition, will my age influence my ability to be accepted into a competitive surgery residency?
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  3. Pir8DeacDoc

    Pir8DeacDoc Cerumen Extractor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2004
    I wasn't aware there was any "passing" score for the MCAT.. but whatever you meant by that good luck....

    My school tends to have more people that are a bit older. I think our average age as M-I's was 26. We even have one person in her late 40's. While there might be some under the table type stuff, a program can not discriminate against you because of your age. IMO the law sees it no differently than discriminating against someone based on skin color or gender. Good luck to you!
  4. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    Gone Walkabout!
    Hi there,
    Get through your third-year surgery clerkship at your age and then decide if you want to do surgery. There is no age limit but you may find that while the idea of being a surgeon is quite "romantic" the actual work may not be your "cup of tea". Medical school gives you many options so don't try to lock into something too soon especially before you have started. If you have the grades and test scores, your age isn't going to keep you out of surgery.

    njbmd :cool:
  5. FliteSurgn

    FliteSurgn This space for rent. 10+ Year Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    I know at least one of our residents turned 40 during his surgical residency. There have been several of us that were in the last half of our 30's as well. The most important thing (in most situations) is being happy with your choice. If you want to do surgery, age is not an obstacle.
  6. nadeem

    nadeem Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Hi mw314,

    ...First congrats on passing the MCATS. That in itself an accomplishment. Anyways, i think that the most important thing (at least to me) was if I could get up in the morning and feel like going to work. I have a classmate who is 45 years old and wants to do radiology (5 year residency), but he finished his rotations and knows that is what he liked. He ended up not matching at a radiology program but he is doing a transitional year now, but he still is going to apply for radiology. I worked with an artificial heart program for 4 years before going to med. school (i was 30 when i started med. school) thinking that i wanted to be e heart transplant surgeon (which is not impossible). But after my surgical rotation, i disliked the OR, i did EM and loved it. Anyways, i think that you should go to med. school with an open mind. Trust me, if you like your surgical rotation during your clinical years, go ahead pursue it.....

    Take care & Good luck,
    Ahmed MS-4 CCOM
  7. flighterdoc

    flighterdoc Rocket Scientist 7+ Year Member

    Theres a (nearly) 50 year old occasionally on this forum that is in the middle of her surgical residency. I don't think that a 29 year old should worry too much.
  8. debvz

    debvz Wandering Spleen 7+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    A classmate of mine who was a former OR nurse started med school at age 41, I believe. She's now a 3rd year surgery resident. Don't worry about age, if you have your heart set on it.
  9. shag

    shag Supreme Procrastinator 7+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2002
    This may sound cliche, but in this profession life is truly a journey.

    As I sit here contemplating my upcoming graduation (from the 21st grade), I realize that in terms of $$$'s, at 29 with a kid on the way, I'm way behind the curve.

    I'm looking forward to beginning a surgical internship, and have a strong interest in oncology. Like most of the subspec's, 2 years of research on top of the time necessary for fellowship is required in addition to the usual 5 years. I'll likely be graduating from the 29th or 30th grade by the time I'm an attending, and worse, I'll be pushing 40...

    The field of Medicine makes an art of delayed gratification, and surgeons take delayed gratification to it's extreme. I also feel that surgeons take professional gratification to the highest level, and am happy with my decision to extend my training to be the best physician that I can be.

    My wife was an integral part of my decision, and supports me fully. We made the decision that money isn't everything and can handle watching our non med friends buy big houses and nice cars while we live modestly, but comfortly.

    Not everyone can do this or be happy on such a demanding career path. If your thoughts are only of the destination, then you will waste several years of happiness in training.

    Follow your heart, include your significant other if one is present, and if you truly love surgery and feel that you can handle the load, the DO IT! Otherwise, there are other appealing areas of medicine that require much less time commitment.

    just my $.02
  10. mary

    mary Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    You are definitely not too old to rule out surgery as a career! There are people in my class who just matched into surgery and they are in their mid to late 30s. You can still do general or trauma, but dont' forget about optho, ENT, uro, etc. They are still fun, but more family friendly in some ways (surgery is rarely totally family friendly, but when it is in your blood, you gotta do what you gotta do). Lucky me, i have a great husband!
  11. ortho2003

    ortho2003 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    go for it, our ortho program has two guys on the other side of 40 and our gen surg program has a guy in his mid-to-late 40's with 8 (you read that right) kids...if he can do it, anyone can.
    W116 likes this.
  12. Definitely not too old. Though the average age of our class was 23 at the start of med school, there are a couple guys in their early-to-mid-30s who are thinking about surgery.

    I'm also curious, though, as to what you meant by "passing" your MCATs?
  13. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Lifetime Donor SDN Chief Administrator 10+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    Really, who's that?

    At any rate, I was older when I started my residency and only one program asked me about my age when I interviewed. It has not been a problem as far as energy goes, although I find it more difficult to retain information that I've read these days...if it ain't the eyes or the hearing, its the darn memory!
  14. supercut

    supercut Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 19, 2003
    You're only as old as you feel!!!

    Seriously, there are a lot more of us "geriatric" types in surgery than you would think. I'm in my early 40's an will soon be done with my first year of general surgery residency. In the class behind me in med school, another 40 somthing is also going into surgery.

    You'll be a younster compared to some of us. But seriously, there is no field of medicine that is off limits soley based on age, if you are willing to do what it takes to get through the residency.

    First, concentrate on getting into med school. That's usually the hardest part. Then wait and see how you like the different rotations and keep an open mind.

    But realize that the only limitiations your age will place on you is in your own mind!
    W116 likes this.
  15. WildcatOrtho

    WildcatOrtho New Member

    Apr 7, 2004
    There's one guy in my class who is now 34-35, with two kids (ages 3 and 8) who just matched into neurosurgery. Don't matter if you're old or not, if you want to do it, go for it.
  16. gims

    gims Junior Member

    Jun 8, 2002
    I'm 32, married, one kid, I'm on my 3rd career now, just graduating med school (tomorrow!), and I matched in gen surg at a strong university program. Not one person asked me about my age on the interview trail - they did, however, ask me about my career choices of course.

    Never let *any* obstacle, whether it's external or internal ("supratentorial") get in between you and your dreams, even if you don't know exactly what your dreams are at the time :)

    Good luck.

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