The plastic surgery match: predicting success and improving the process

Ann Plast Surg. 2013 Jun;70(6):698-703. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e31828587d3.


Plastic surgery continues to be a very competitive program to match into out of medical school. To analyze the match process, all applicants to our plastic surgery residency program in 2012 were surveyed. Our results showed that with matching into plastic surgery as the primary outcome measure, those who matched applied to more plastic surgery programs, received and accepted more interview invitations, were younger, were less likely to be foreign medical graduates, reported higher costs, had higher Step 1 and Step 2 scores, were more likely to be an Alpha Omega Alpha member, and conducted more research. In addition to looking at variables that affected the success of the match, other questions regarding the match process were posed. Most interestingly, 10% of applicants still reported violations of the match communication guidelines. Furthermore, the mean cost of interviewing for the plastic surgery match was $6073.In summary, applicants with diversified strengths had the best chance of matching. On the basis of the results of this study, applicants should attend a large number of interviews to optimize their match success. With medical student debt a growing problem, programs need to find ways to control interview costs. Residency program compliance with match communication guidelines has improved, but compliance should be universal. With these data, applicants can be better prepared for the match to optimize their success and programs can work to improve the match process.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Career Choice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • School Admission Criteria* / statistics & numerical data
  • School Admission Criteria* / trends
  • Students, Medical / psychology
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgery, Plastic / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires