What Are the Best Plastic Surgery Schools and Fellowships?

Read about three universities with top-ranked medical schools and explore the plastic surgery programs each school offers. Get info on what to look for in a school with a strong plastic surgery program. Schools offering Surgical Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Do I Choose a Plastic Surgery Fellowship?

As an M.D. at the residency or fellowship phase of your career as a plastic surgeon, you will want to search for top medical schools with quality clinical affiliations and well-established programs in this advanced practice specialty. Schools, professional organizations and practice groups sponsor 1-year post-residency fellowships. The National Resident Matching Program has established a process called 'The Match,' which coordinates academic residencies and fellowships nationwide.

Fellowship information can be found through schools or through associations like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons or the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Professional associations such as the American Association of Plastic Surgeons sponsor programs such as the John D. Constable Traveling Fellowship Award.

What Are Three of the Best Plastic Surgery Schools?

University of California - San Diego

UCSD's medical school was ranked 21st in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 list of best medical schools for research, and the UC San Diego Medical Center ranked nationally in six adult specialties for 2019. The Division of Plastic Surgery, established in 1975, offers the Craniofacial Fellowship at Rady Children's Hospital San Diego. During your fellowship, you will get the chance to partner with the Fresh Start Surgical Gifts charity, a non-profit organization that provides free reconstructive surgery and complex dental services to disadvantaged children.

In the 3-year independent residency (six years for the integrated plastic surgery rotation), you will do your rotations at three main sites within the university's health system. You will also get the chance to work at Rady Children's Hospital and the VA La Jolla Center. Rotations include pediatric reconstructive plastic surgery, dermatology and aesthetic surgery. You also have the chance as a resident to participate in humanitarian projects in Mexico and Guatemala via telemedicine clinics. There are also opportunities to travel to the clinic sites. The following plastic surgery residency and fellowship programs are available:

  • Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency
  • Independent Plastic Surgery Residency
  • Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery Fellowship

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

For the 2019 U.S News & World Report's evaluation, the UM Medical School is tied for 16th in research, and the UM Hospitals and Health Centers are nationally ranked in 24 specialties. UM's Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency combines both general surgery experience and specific training in plastic surgery. Research facilities include the Craniofacial Research Laboratory.

UM also offers 1-year plastic surgery craniofacial and hand fellowships. Both are available to board-eligible plastic surgeons. The hand fellowship can be completed by orthopedic or plastic surgeons. The hand fellowship teaching curriculum covers hand surgery topics that include amputations and prosthetics; compression neuropathies; skin, bone and soft tissue tumors; and thumb reconstruction. UM's residency and fellowships include:

  • Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency
  • Craniofacial Fellowship
  • Hand Fellowship

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

The Perelman School of Medicine at this Ivy League university was ranked 3rd for research in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Medical Schools rankings list, whilst the University of Pennsylvania Hospital - Penn Presbytarian Medical Center - is nationally ranked in 12 adult specialties.

The Edwin & Fannie Gray Hall Center for Human Appearance addresses problems related to the face, body and extremities. The 19,500-square foot Harrison Department of Surgical Research houses the majority of the department's research space.

The Division of Plastic Surgery offers a 3-year independent residency program and a 6-year integrated residency program. There are three 1-year post-residency fellowships in craniofacial surgery, craniofacial research and lower extremity plastic and reconstructive surgery. Fellows have the opportunity to teach residents who, in turn, have weekly lectures that cover all aspects of plastic surgery. Clinical sites for both residents and fellows include the Hospital of the University of Pennslyvania (HUP), the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Pennsylvania Hospital and the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. The following programs are offered:

  • Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency
  • Independent Plastic Surgery Residency
  • Craniofacial Surgery Fellowship
  • Lower Extremity Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship

Other Schools with Plastic Surgery Fellowships and Residencies

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center4-year, Public Dallas, TX$7,000
University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester 4-year, Public Worcester, MA$25,000
University of Utah 4-year, Public Salt Lake City, UT$8,000
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston 4-year, Public Houston, TX$9,000
University of Missouri - Columbia 4-year, Public Columbia, MO$10,000
Rutgers University - Newark 4-year, Public Newark, NJ$19,000
University of Nevada - Las Vegas 4-year, Public Las Vegas, NV$6,000
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center - New Orleans 4-year, Public New Orleans, LA$13,000
Stanford University 4-year, Private Stanford, CA$51,000
University of Kansas Medical Center 4-year, Public Kansas City, KSN/A

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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