We read with great interest the article entitled “Matching into Integrated Plastic Surgery: The Value of Research Fellowships.”1 The authors elucidated the value of a research fellowship for applicants to this competitive specialty.
The authors’ results showed that 50 respondents completed a “research fellowship before residency.” The results shown in Table 2 encompass the entire respondent pool of 198 applicants. We wonder whether the 148 candidates who did not pursue research fellowship before residency partook in research activity in tandem with their medical school years. In this case, it would be interesting to understand the differences in research output between these two groups, and this would further support the authors’ emphasis of the value of dedicated research fellowships.
American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons members whom the authors surveyed considered three to four publications as productive (51 percent of respondents). The number of first-author publications would add great value to the authors’ results. First authorship is an important metric in assessing research productivity, as this requires more time and commitment and typically demonstrates contribution along the research continuum from study conception and design to publication. In addition, three to four or five to six conference presentations were considered productive by the majority of respondents. It would be interesting to determine whether the type of meeting (e.g., local, national, international) and presentation (poster versus oral) influences American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons members’ consideration of applicants, because conferences have varying rates of acceptance.
The authors studied the importance of research fellowships for applicants to integrated plastic surgery residency. However, some of the responding American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons members were part of independent residency programs. Although the authors acknowledged the limitation of not having separate results for these two groups, having faculty from independent programs evaluate medical students applying for an integrated residency might confound the results, as their respective criteria for applicant selection may differ. The expected research productivity of a resident applying to plastic surgery as a fellowship might be different than that expected from a medical student. Similarly, the authors’ results may not be generalizable to general surgery residents applying to independent plastic surgery programs.
Furthermore, the authors’ results report that 63 percent of American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons members do not actively encourage a research year. For some applicants, including international medical graduates or those who decide to pursue integrated plastic surgery late in medical school, a research fellowship may be essential.
The importance of research experiences and publications among applicants matching into plastic surgery residency has risen over the years.2–5 Given this trend, we appreciate the authors’ efforts in shedding light on the value of research fellowships in matching into integrated plastic surgery residency.
The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this communication.
Aashish Rajesh, M.B.B.S.
Department of Surgery
Malke Asaad, M.D.
Division of Plastic Surgery
Faculty of Medicine
Krishna Vyas, M.D., Ph.D., M.H.S.
Division of Plastic Surgery
1. Mehta K, Sinno S, Thanik V, Weichman K, Janis JE, Patel A. Matching into integrated plastic surgery: The value of research fellowships. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2019;143:640–645.
2. Janis JE, Hatef DA. Resident selection protocols in plastic surgery: A national survey of plastic surgery program directors. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2008;122:1929–1939; discussion 1940–1941.
3. Andry D, Moliver C, Phillips LG. An analysis of female plastic surgery authorship: Where are we today? Plast Reconstr Surg. 2019;143:327–331.
4. Tadisina KK, Orra S, Bassiri Gharb B, Kwiecien G, Bernard S, Zins JE. Applying to integrated plastic surgery residency programs: Trends in the past 5 years of the Match. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016;137:1344–1353.
5. Silvestre J, Serletti JM, Chang B. Trends in Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education accreditation for subspecialty fellowship training in plastic surgery. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2018;141:768e–774e.
Letters to the Editor, discussing material recently published in the Journal, are welcome. They will have the best chance of acceptance if they are received within 8 weeks of an article’s publication. Letters to the Editor may be published with a response from the authors of the article being discussed. Discussions beyond the initial letter and response will not be published. Letters submitted pertaining to published Discussions of articles will not be printed. Letters to the Editor are not usually peer reviewed, but the Journal may invite replies from the authors of the original publication. All Letters are published at the discretion of the Editor.
Letters submitted should pose a specific question that clarifies a point that either was not made in the article or was unclear, and therefore a response from the corresponding author of the article is requested.
Authors will be listed in the order in which they appear in the submission. Letters should be submitted electronically via PRS’ enkwell, at www.editorialmanager.com/prs/.
We reserve the right to edit Letters to meet requirements of space and format. Any financial interests relevant to the content of the correspondence must be disclosed. Submission of a Letter constitutes permission for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and its licensees and asignees to publish it in the Journal and in any other form or medium.
The views, opinions, and conclusions expressed in the Letters to the Editor represent the personal opinions of the individual writers and not those of the publisher, the Editorial Board, or the sponsors of the Journal. Any stated views, opinions, and conclusions do not reflect the policy of any of the sponsoring organizations or of the institutions with which the writer is affiliated, and the publisher, the Editorial Board, and the sponsoring organizations assume no responsibility for the content of such correspondence.
The Journal requests that individuals submit no more than five (5) letters to Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in a calendar year.