With the advent of integrative plastic surgical training programs, requirements for earlier specialization decisions, and an increasing subspecialization within the practice of plastic surgery, the educational goals of residency training may have changed. The duration and extent of training required are also currently being questioned. This study was performed to better understand the necessary roles of plastic surgery residencies and to determine how these demands might optimally be met. Of 151 practicing plastic surgeons in the Ontario, Canada, region, 81 (53.6 percent) responded to a survey. General agreement was that 2 years was an optimal length of time for core surgical training, which should then be followed by at least 3 years of plastic surgical training. Opinions on the ideal length of time training in specific medical and surgical disciplines are discussed. Overall, respondents thought that two thirds of training should occur in tertiary care centers, with the remaining time spent at smaller community centers and private clinics. Nearly half of respondents thought that research training should be a mandatory part of the residency, although the amount of protected time for this activity varied substantially. Most thought that unrestricted elective time should also be available. Academic plastic surgeons rated the importance of research training (p < 0.01), critical appraisal skills (p < 0.05), and teaching skills (p < 0.05) as significantly more important than did their nonacademic colleagues. The authors present results from the Ontario region and a template for determining optimal characteristics for training programs. Further investigation may be of timely importance during a foreseeable future transition from traditional to integrative plastic surgery residency training.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto.
Received for publication June 6, 2002;
revised November 12, 2002.
Joel S. Fish, M.D.
Ross Tilley Burn Centre
Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4N 3M5