Integrated plastic surgery applicants complete among the highest number of visiting audition rotations of any specialty. In the 2021 match, we observed that the elimination of audition rotations and in-person interviews drastically increased the number of applicants who matched at their home program. We sought to evaluate the effect of applicants participating in one selective visiting subinternship rotation on home program match rates.
Top 50 plastic surgery residency programs were identified by 2021 Doximity rankings. Publicly available, online plastic surgery match spreadsheets were used to collect available information including matched applicants' medical school, the institution at which they matched, whether they matched at their home institution, and whether they had previous communication with their matched program including research year or visiting subinternship completed.
Fourteen percent of applicants matched at their home institution in 2022, comparable with recent prepandemic rates of 14.1% and 16.7%, versus 24.1% in 2021. The largest effect was observed among the top 25 programs. Separately, approximately 70% of applicants provided self-reported information on whether they completed a subinternship. Among the top 50 programs, 39.0% of applicants completed an audition rotation at the institution at which they eventually matched.
The allowance of medical students to perform only one visiting subinternship in the 2022 match cycle normalized home match rates to the prepandemic baseline, possibly driven by a large proportion of students matching at their visiting rotation institution. Perhaps from both a program and applicant standpoint, 1 away rotation may provide sufficient exposure for eventual match success.