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Mandating Departments of Plastic Surgery: The Future of Plastic Surgery Is Now

Ilango, Nambi M.S.

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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: January 2009 - Volume 123 - Issue 1 - p 430-431
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31819055db
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I read with much interest Dr. Rohrich's editorial mandating plastic surgery departments in academic centers (Plast Reconstr Surg. 2008;121:1499–1502). The article reveals the author's years of clinical, academic, and administrative knowledge and his interest in developing plastic surgery as a student- and patient-friendly department all over the world. I congratulate his extensive research work on achieving the autonomy, parity, strategic planning, resident training, and developing partners with other departments for the improvement of plastic surgery. Regarding the training of doctors, I would like to add a point that might be valuable in structuring an academic program. In my opinion, the roots of plastic surgery must begin from the days of internship. A young intern who wishes to become a surgeon, irrespective of the specialty (e.g., general surgery or orthopedics) which he or she chooses, must start the internship from the plastic surgery department. The basic knowledge and skills of wound care, dressings, bandaging, suturing, and clinical photography can be imparted to the young doctor by none other than a plastic surgeon. For the young doctor, this will avoid a lot of unlearning and relearning of basic skills during the resident period. Therefore, I would like to conclude that plastic surgery must be considered as a basic specialty rather than a resident-oriented specialty in all academic centers. This can be achieved by following the facts mentioned by the author. I once again thank and appreciate Dr. Rohrich for his effort to take our specialty to higher levels.

A thousand mile journey starts with one small first step.

—Chinese Proverb


The author has no financial interests to disclose.

Nambi Ilango, M.S.

Department of Plastic Surgery

Christian Medical College

Vellore, Tamilnadu, India 632004

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©2009American Society of Plastic Surgeons