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Solving Congestion in the Plastic Surgery Match: A Game Theory Analysis

Molina Burbano, Felipe, B.A.; Yao, Amy, B.S.; Burish, Nikki, M.D.; Ingargiola, Michael, M.D.; Freeman, Matthew, M.D.; Stock, Jeffrey, M.D.; Taub, Peter J., M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: February 2019 - Volume 143 - Issue 2 - p 634-639
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005254
Plastic Surgery Focus: Special Topics
Journal Club
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Summary: Plastic and reconstructive surgery is among the most competitive specialties in the residency match. Applicants seeking to maximize their chances of a successful match often submit numerous applications to the National Residency Matching Program. It is not uncommon for those applying to plastic and reconstructive surgery to apply to every program. The high application volume imparts significant time and financial burden for applicants and programs alike. Furthermore, it makes distinguishing between applicants with a genuine interest in a specific program and those who are merely hoping to improve their chances vastly more difficult. The authors sought to characterize trends in the match rate, as the number of integrated plastic and reconstructive surgery programs continues to increase. Furthermore, they reviewed the literature on game theory for possible solutions to residency application congestion. The authors propose the use of the game theory model to explain the observed results and show why an application limit is the most reasonable approach to address this issue.

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New York, N.Y.

From the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Department of Urology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Received for publication January 12, 2018; accepted July 20, 2018.

Disclosure:There are no relevant financial disclosures regarding the creation of this article.

Peter J. Taub, M.D., Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 5 East 98th Street, Box 1259, New York, N.Y. 10029,, Twitter: @pjtaub

Copyright © 2018 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons