American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons

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An Analysis of Plastic Surgery Residentsí Research Productivity Over Time
Caitlin E. Marks, BS; Grant Darner, BS; Sonali Biswas, BS; Nicholas C. Oleck, MD; Victoria Wickenheisser, MD; Brett T. Phillips, MD, MBA
Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

Background: Plastic surgery remains one of the most competitive specialties with research remaining a heavily valued component of applications to residency and fellowship. A quantifiable productivity level of plastic surgery trainees and its relationship throughout medical school residency has not been examined. We hypothesized that research productivity would increase over time, and this would be even more apparent in those applying to fellowship or seeking an academic faculty position
Methods: We performed a retrospective observational study of the plastic surgery graduating resident class of 2019. Residents were identified through residency program websites and emailing program coordinators. Information regarding graduation dates, additional degrees, fellowship choices, and academic faculty status were documented. Scopus and WebofScience were used to quantify the number of published works per year and H-index. PRS-GO was used to assess the number of plastic surgery related abstracts and presentations. Wilcoxon tests were used to compare alumni as residents and medical students, and Mann-Whitney tests were used for all other analyses
Results: 70 residents were identified of which 26% (n=18) had an additional degree, 14% (n=10) attended the same institution for medical school and residency, 73% (n=51) completed a fellowship, and 44% (n=31) are academic faculty. The number of publications and abstracts/presentations per year in residency was higher than in medical school (all p<0.05). The rate of first authorship was also higher during residency (p<0.05). There was no difference in research productivity (p=0.41) or in H-index (p=0.13) in residents who decided to pursue fellowship. There was no difference in research productivity in residents who decided to pursue an academic faculty position (p=0.10), but there was a higher H-index (5.6 vs 3.0, p<0.05)
Conclusion: Plastic Surgery graduates were more productive conducting research in residency compared to medical school and were more likely to be first author, suggesting greater involvement and taking on a leadership role. Furthermore, while the productivity and H-index of residents applying for fellowship did not differ from those not applying to residency, the H-index was statistically higher in those residents pursuing a career in academia suggesting higher quality publications.


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