Roark10

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Sep 4, 2014
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Hey all - I’m a pgy-1 in a general surgery residency and have found so far that I really like general thoracic surgery - didn’t have much exposure to cardiac during my rotation but loved the thoracic stuff. I know my mind is likely to change several times on future fellowship choices - but I was wondering if there were any thoracic only fellowship options. From looking on here and my own research there are some CT fellowships with a thoracic focus or few 1 year non-accredited programs. Much of this I saw was old - have there been any changes? Are there any options Further than the ones I’ve mentioned? Thanks guys as always
 

ThoracicGuy

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The only way you would be boarded in the US is doing a CT surgery training program. This would include general thoracic and cardiac surgery. When you are done, you can elect to perform either side of CT surgery or both if you wish. There are two tracks of study, general thoracic and cardiothoracic, that shift your focus from one side to the other and changes your number needs.

The general thoracic only programs would give you some training, sure, but you wouldn't be boarded and would be less desirable from an employment standpoint.
 
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Roark10

Roark10

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Sep 4, 2014
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So the best way to become a general thoracic surgeon is to do a 2 year accredited program that offers a thoracic tract?
 

ThoracicGuy

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So the best way to become a general thoracic surgeon is to do a 2 year accredited program that offers a thoracic tract?
Either an I6 program, which is a 6 year training length, or General Surgery + a 2 or 3 year CT fellowship program.

All programs pretty much offer the General Thoracic/CT tracks.

As for the best between the two, I guess it depends on what you want to do. If you want to do general thoracic with some general surgery, then going the fellowship route is probably better. If you want to do purely General Thoracic, either way will get you there. The I6 program would shave 1-2 years off the total length.

Given you are already in General Surgery, then you are looking at the CT fellowship programs that can be 2 or 3 years in length. For general thoracic, you only would really need a 2 year program. I'd recommend the 3 year programs more for cardiac focused surgeons.
 
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Medstart108

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So the best way to become a general thoracic surgeon is to do a 2 year accredited program that offers a thoracic tract?
Yes, definitely. You want to do a 2 year CT fellowship that offers a thoracic tract.
From speaking with thoracic surgeons, many have suggested that the I-6 programs tend to be more cardiac focused. There are some I-6 programs that are more thoracic focused like i.e. UW but generally speaking, most people who do I-6 are going for cardiac. With that being said, a good percentage do go for thoracic.

But since you are in Gen surg, the best option for you is definitely the 2 year CT fellowship - thoracic track.
 

the negative 1

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ThoracicGuy pretty much covered it, but I'll add my two cents.

Like you said, you're mind may change with your experiences. It's pretty common. I went from Vascular to Trauma/ICU to finally CT.

Keep in mind, the CT match happens in 4th year so you've got to start prepping earlier than you would for other specialties. The match has gotten much more competitive in the last four years. If you're feeling more certain about thoracic as the year goes on, let your CT attendings know your interest. They'll be your best advocates in a world that is markedly smaller than general surgery. Get involved with the STS, which has scholarships for residents to attend the annual meeting. And obviously do well in your program and on the ABSITE.
 
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CTFellowMD

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Apr 16, 2015
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So the best way to become a general thoracic surgeon is to do a 2 year accredited program that offers a thoracic tract?

The only way to become a general thoracic surgeon at your stage is to do a traditional 2 year or 3 year accredited program. They all involve significant cardiac exposure as well, as training in the US still mandates single certification in both.