Reviewing ACGME Plastic Surgery Fellowship Case Logs: Is Surgical Experience Increasing?

Nicholas J. Iglesias, Taylor P. Williams, Shivan N. Chokshi, Claire B. Cummins, Rui Min D. Mao, Keyan Mobli, Andrew Berry, Yota Suzuki, Alexander Perez, Ravi S. Radhakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Over the last decade, there has been a 32% decrease in independent plastic surgery fellowships. The growing prevalence of 6-year integrated plastic surgery residencies, duty hour restrictions, and new subspecialty training fellowships for general surgeons have changed the training experience of plastic surgery fellows. Methods: A retrospective review of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) case logs for graduating fellows of independent plastic surgery fellowships in the United States was conducted from 2011 to 2019. A linear regression analysis was conducted for each case log code and category, and a 95% level of confidence was assumed (α = 0.05). Results: In 2011, 141 residents from 69 programs graduated with an average of 1469.7 cases. In 2019, 84 residents from 47 programs graduated with an average of 1952 cases. Index procedures significantly increased overall during the 9 y (P < 0.001). Categorical cases increased in esthetics (P < 0.001), including facelift, browlift, blepharoplasty, and more. Categorical cases increased in reconstructive surgery (P < 0.001), including treatment of deformities of the skin, lower extremities, and trunk, nerve decompression, and hand reconstruction. In breast procedures, an increase was seen in the reduction of mammoplasty, reconstruction, and treatment of other breast deformities. In head and neck procedures, an increase was seen in resection of head and neck neoplasms and secondary cleft lip repair. Decreases in procedural numbers were seen in primary cleft lip repair and hand reconstruction by primary closure. Conclusions: Despite a 32% decline in the number of independent plastic surgery fellowships over the last 9 y, plastic surgery fellows are obtaining significantly more surgical experience, both in esthetic and reconstructive surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-78
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Case logs
  • Resident education
  • Surgical experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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