Cosmetic surgery training in plastic surgery residency programs in the United States: How have we progressed in the last three years?

Georgette Oni, Jamil Ahmad, James E. Zins, Jeffrey M. Kenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background: In 2006, a survey performed by Morrison et al analyzed the experience of aesthetic surgery training from the perspective of residents and their program directors in plastic surgery programs across the United States. Objectives: The authors conducted a survey to follow-up on the Morrison results three years after publication, to assess the changes in plastic surgery residency programs. Methods: In December 2009, a 17-question survey was sent to program directors, and a 19-question survey was sent to senior residents in all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-approved plastic surgery residency programs in the United States. The questions were posed in a five-point ranking format. The two additional questions included in the senior resident survey related to career aspirations and desirable areas of additional training. Ninety-two program directors and 397 senior residents received the survey. Results: Forty-four program director surveys (47.8%) and 117 (29.5%) senior resident surveys were returned. Two-thirds of programs offered a residents' clinic, which was considered the preferred method of cosmetic surgery education by residents. Residents reported increased exposure to nonsurgical procedures such as lasers and injectables. Abdominoplasty, breast augmentation, and breast reduction remained the procedures most frequently performed by residents with confidence, as in the 2006 survey. Facial aesthetic procedures, including rhinoplasty and facelift, remained challenging to residents. Many residents (55.7%) felt confident integrating cosmetic surgery into their practice. One-third of residents reported that they would apply for a cosmetic fellowship. Conclusions: This survey shows an improvement in cosmetic surgery training for plastic surgery residents in the United States, particularly in that noninvasive cosmetic treatments are being increasingly taught. Since 2006, steps have been taken to provide more comprehensive cosmetic surgery education to residents, encouraging the delivery of the safe, high-quality care expected of a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-455
Number of pages11
JournalAesthetic surgery journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2011


  • aesthetic surgery training
  • cosmetic surgery training
  • cosmetic surveys
  • plastic surgery resident training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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