The training plan is directed towards the goal of providing the resident with the core knowledge and experience necessary to allow that resident to graduate as a competent plastic surgeon. The plan is further directed towards preparing the resident for successful examination by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Residents enjoy a close and ongoing relationship with the teaching staff. On a monthly basis, each resident is assigned to one or more teaching staff members. During this rotation, he or she is responsible primarily to that physician, but secondarily to the needs of the service at large.
During each rotation, the resident is exposed to both the operative and office experience of the physicians to whom he or she is primarily responsible. This organization allows the resident to be exposed to a variety of approaches and techniques from which he or she will hopefully evolve his or her own approach to a specific problem in plastic surgery.
During the first year, each resident rotates for a period of two months through the Division of Plastic Surgery at Memorial Hermann Hospital, the primary teaching hospital of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. At Hermann, the resident is exposed to a broad spectrum of major trauma, burns, maxillofacial injuries, and microsurgical cases. One month is also spent at the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital (LBJ), a county-sponsored facility. With the exception of these rotations, the remainder of the residency program is conducted at The Methodist Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center.
During the second year, each resident rotates for a period of one month on the plastic surgery service at M.D. Anderson Hospital. The primary focus of activity there is on head-neck cancer surgery and reconstruction of defects following the ablation of these tumors. In addition, there is exposure to other reconstructive surgery including a significant amount of microsurgery which is used on the reconstruction service at the hospital. A one month rotation at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital (LBJ) offers another opportunity to work in the county hospital setting and one month at Memorial Hermann Hospital. With the exception of these rotations, the remainder of the residency program is conducted at The Methodist Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center.
For several years, the senior residents along with the cleft lip and palate team of Operation San Jose have traveled to an underdeveloped foreign country for one week of intensive cleft lip and palate surgery.
During their first year of training, the residents are required to take a five-day course in basic microsurgical techniques. The stated purpose of the course is “to lay the foundations of the principal skills that make up good microsurgical technique.” Each resident thereby acquires the facility necessary to perform reliable microsurgical anastomoses necessary for the performance of free flaps, re-implantation, etc.
Schedule of Conferences
Didactic scientific sessions are scheduled at 4:30 p.m. on Mondays weekly at St. Joseph Medical Center and on Wednesday morning at The Methodist Hospital. For these sessions, didactic presentations complete with narrative, slides, handouts and bibliography occur frequently. A two-year planned curriculum controls the teaching material to ensure complete coverage of the field of plastic surgery.
Clinic cases appropriate to the topic are selected and are presented at that time. Each resident presents approximately one such conference per month. The conferences additionally deal with coverage of scientific meetings as well as other selected topics considered pertinent. There is an occasional guest speaker who has demonstrated some area of expertise pertinent to plastic surgery.
There are a host of other conferences and rounds at the two local medical schools, which residents are invited to attend. These include grand rounds, hand conference, maxillofacial conference, pathology conference, etc. There are fixed reading assignments (textbook and journal) which the residents are responsible for throughout the year.