Nationwide Resident Access to Elective Rotations A Survey Study

Ersilia L. Anghel, Breanna Jedrzejewski, Stephanie Radu, Elizabeth N. Dewey, Lori K. Howell, Jens U. Berli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study seeks to assess the status of elective rotations offered in plastic and reconstructive surgery residency programs throughout the country while also qualifying resident and alumni experiences and identifying barriers to offering electives. Design: Two prospective surveys were created for (1) program leadership and (2) residents, fellows, and alumni's who have graduated in the last 5 years. Setting: This is a multi-institutional survey study. Participants: Of 81 plastic and reconstructive surgery programs, 45 programs, and 102 residents, fellows and/or recent graduates responded to survey 2. Results: Fifty-six percent of respondents stated that their institution offered electives, 62% of which permitted residents to participate in regional, national, and international rotations primarily in the fifth and sixth years of training. Types of elective rotations completed included aesthetic, craniofacial, sex, hand, and microsurgery. Fifty-three percent responding programs denied barriers to offering elective rotations. When programs noted barriers, the most common were cost to resident/department (28%), institutional Graduate Medical Education policy (22%), and lack of service coverage at the home institution (22%). There was no difference between departments versus divisions offering electives (56.3% vs 57.1%, P = 0.95). Programs that did not offer electives spent an average of 14.6 months on general surgery compared with 9.4 months for programs that did offer electives (P = 0.06). For programs that did not currently offer elective rotations, 71% indicated a desire to do so. Conclusion: The primary goal of plastic surgery training programs is to produce plastic surgeons of the highest caliber with regard to safety and competence. Although several regulatory bodies ensure that programs adhere to a similar standard, not all programs have opportunities for residents to experience the breadth of our multifaceted specialty. Elective rotations constitute an excellent supplement to a well-rounded training where gaps may exist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-7
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • elective rotations
  • plastic surgery elective
  • plastic surgery residency
  • resident education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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