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The Most DO-Friendly Plastic Surgery Programs in the US

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by Yousmle Staff in Residency

Are you wondering how DO-friendly (or unfriendly) plastic surgery is as a US medical specialty? Do you want to know your chances of matching in this highly competitive field? Would you love to figure out what plastic surgery programs a DO would stand the best chance?

This article will give you the most up-to-date information on DO-friendly plastic surgery programs. Use this information to strategize on whether – and where – to apply to maximize your chances of matching as a DO in plastic surgery.

Summary:

  • Plastic surgery is a competitive US medical specialty and there are mostly DO-unfriendly residency programs
  • Most residency programs do not accept DOs, while few have a low rate of DO acceptance
  • Most plastic surgery programs do not favor DOs, with only a small part filling spots with DOs (e.g. Cleveland Clinic Foundation Program and University of South Florida Morsani Program).
  • See the full list of searchable residency programs to strategize where DOs have recently been the most welcome
  • Be sure to bookmark this page – and sign up for the newsletter – to keep up with the latest residency and USMLE trends and maximize your chances of matching

Table of Contents

What’s the Difference between a DO and an MD?

Let’s start with some definitions.

DO: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Licensed physicians trained in “whole body” wellness and treatment techniques in muscle and joint manipulation in addition to mainstream treatments.
Allopathy Vs. Osteopathy

In the US, there are two main branches of registered physicians:

  • Allopathy: In this path, doctors train in modern, sometimes referred to as “Western”, medicine to treat symptoms and diseases. Doctors who train in this branch obtain licenses as Doctors of Medicine (MD)
  • Osteopathy: These doctors have the same education and licensing exams as MDs but have additional training in muscle and joint manipulation. Doctors who train in Osteopathy have their licenses as Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and possess the same residency training and choices as MDs.
COMLEX vs. USMLE

To begin practicing medicine, DOs and MDs must take specific licensing exams:

  • COMLEX-USA: This test assesses osteopathic medical knowledge in addition to allopathic medical knowledge in order to become licensed as a DO in the USA.
  • USMLE: This test assesses allopathic medical knowledge and is required to become licensed as an MD.
NRMP: “National Resident Matching Program®”
  • The organization that administers the “Match.” In the match, the NRMP pairs residency applicants with a residency program.

Note that prior to the 2020 Match, DOs had access to a “pool” of residencies reserved for which only they could match. The current system has merged DO and MD residencies so that every applicant has the same “chance” for matching in their chosen specialty.

For more on how to maximize your match chances and how the “Merge” has changed residency applications, see THE MATCH: Everything You Need to Maximize Your Residency Chances

Plastic Surgery Is Not DO-Friendly

By examining the percentage of residency spots that were filled by DOs in the 2022 Match, it is evident that the field of plastic surgery was not receptive to DO applicants, as there were zero matches in that specialty in 2022.

Therefore, the match rate for DOs in plastic surgery (0%) shows the DOs have a low chance for acceptance in plastic surgery in the 2022 Match:

Here are the same data represented in a table:

% DO Applied that Matched% DO Unmatched% Positions Filled by DOTotal Positions OfferedTotal # All ApplicantsDO Senior MatchedDO Senior UnmatchedDO Senior Total
**Radiation Oncology0%100%0%185162
**Plastic Surgery0%100%0%194340
Vascular Surgery8%92%1%8414311213
Neurological Surgery43%57%4%24037991221
Dermatology50%50%7%544834383876
Orthopaedic Surgery56%44%13%8751,43511186197
Interventional Radiology59%41%12%169226201434
Otolaryngology60%40%6%361556211435
General Surgery62%38%12%1,6222,400200125325
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation64%36%33%53272517699275
Obstetrics and Gynecology65%35%16%1,5032,044241130371
Anesthesiology66%34%16%1,9692,560313161474
Diagnostic Radiology67%33%15%1,1551,56816984253
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics74%26%9%392458371350
Psychiatry87%13%18%2,0472,56037857435
Child Neurology89%11%9%18818217219
Neurology92%8%15%1,0141,24915013163
Pathology93%7%12%63182775681
Internal Medicine94%6%15%9,80911,5981,503931596
Emergency Medicine95%5%25%2,9212,81373638774
Family Medicine96%4%27%4,9165,0551,345621407
Pediatrics97%3%19%3,0163,15356520585

For more on the most competitive DO medical specialties, see this article.

The Most DO-Friendly Plastic Surgery Residency Programs

Although many plastic surgery programs may not be welcoming to DO applicants, there are some programs with a track record of accepting DOs. For example, four plastic surgery residencies in the most recent GME census had a DO percentage of 4% or higher. Three had DO rates of 8% or higher: Cleveland Clinic (9% DO), University of South Florida (8%), and Albany Medical Center Program (8%)

Here is a list of the most (and least) competitive plastic surgery programs for DOs. It includes data from the most recent National GME Census Survey. Percentages are of all residents in the program in 2020.

Specialty: Plastic Surgery - Integrated
ACGME residency program codeResidency program nameCityState% residents US DO graduates% residents US MD graduatesOsteopathic Recognition# applications submitted (2021 NRMP Main Match)% applicants interviewed (2020 NRMP Main Match)# of positions offered (2021 NRMP Main Match)# of positions (2021 NRMP Main Match)
3623800149Cleveland Clinic Foundation ProgramClevelandOH987No28613.444
3621112140University of South Florida Morsani ProgramTampaFL888No26116.644
3623521055Albany Medical Center ProgramAlbanyNY892No24811.422
3625400147University of Washington ProgramSeattleWA496No27112.455
3621200001Emory University School of Medicine ProgramAtlantaGA0100No2727.822
3621600146University of Chicago ProgramChicagoIL0100No28312.933
3623300151Rutgers Health/New Jersey Medical School ProgramNewarkNJ094No26610.122
3623500142Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell ProgramNew Hyde ParkNY0100No2621133
3623500145University of Rochester ProgramRochesterNY0100No25318.622
3623500154Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai ProgramNew YorkNY0100No27411.233
3623500155NYU Grossman School of Medicine ProgramNew YorkNY095No2621444
3623500157Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University ProgramBronxNY0100No26613.122
3623600155Duke University Hospital ProgramDurhamNC0100No2819.633
3623600156University of North Carolina Hospitals ProgramChapel HillNC092No27413.122
3623611074Wake Forest University School of Medicine ProgramWinston-SalemNC0100No26214.733
3623821081Ohio State University Hospital ProgramColumbusOH0100No27110.344
3624000148Oregon Health & Science University ProgramPortlandOR088No26610.833
3624121087Penn State Milton S Hershey Medical Center ProgramHersheyPA0100No26210.822
3624300150Brown University ProgramProvidenceRI083No2725.722
3624811098University of Texas Medical Branch Hospitals ProgramGalvestonTX0100No25319.144
3624821097University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ProgramDallasTX096No26613.855
3624821130Texas A&M College of Medicine-Scott and White Medical Center (Temple) ProgramTempleTX092No25110.822
3624831099Baylor College of Medicine ProgramHoustonTX089No2799.333
3625100153Virginia Commonwealth University Health System ProgramRichmondVA0100No24914.522
3625100154Carilion Clinic-Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine ProgramRoanokeVA083No24112.522
3625111104University of Virginia Medical Center ProgramCharlottesvilleVA0100No27712.622
3625621109University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics ProgramMadisonWI095No26819.233
3625621110Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals ProgramMilwaukeeWI0100No2511122
3620100001University of Alabama Hospital ProgramBirminghamALNo011
3621100002Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science ProgramJacksonvilleFLNo0
3621100159University of Miami/Jackson Health System ProgramMiamiFLNo26512.522
3621600001University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago ProgramChicagoILNo
3621600147Loyola University Medical Center ProgramMaywoodILNo23613.411
3623200001Dartmouth-Hitchcock/Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital ProgramLebanonNHNo23910.211
3623300152Cooper Medical School of Rowan University/Cooper University Hospital ProgramCamdenNJNo2349.911
3623400001University of New Mexico School of Medicine ProgramAlbuquerqueNMNo2127.211
3623500152New York Presbyterian Hospital (Columbia and Cornell Campus) ProgramNew YorkNYNo2701122
3623500158Nassau University Medical Center/Stony Brook University ProgramGarden CityNYNo23612.811
3623800144Wright State University ProgramDaytonOHNo20512.822
3623821112University of Cincinnati Medical Center/College of Medicine ProgramCincinnatiOHNo2387.111
3624100159University of Pennsylvania Health System ProgramPhiladelphiaPANo27333
3624100161Lehigh Valley Health Network/University of South Florida College of Medicine ProgramAllentownPANo2238.911
3624100162Geisinger Health System ProgramDanvillePANo2129.211
3624121090UPMC Medical Education ProgramPittsburghPANo28133
3624500001Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine ProgramCharlestonSCNo2466.511
3624500002Prisma Health/University of South Carolina SOM Columbia (Columbia) ProgramColumbiaSCNo21311.711
3624700002Vanderbilt University Medical Center ProgramNashvilleTNNo26711
3624800001University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ProgramHoustonTXNo
3624900001University of Utah Health ProgramSalt Lake CityUTNo24710.233
3625100155Eastern Virginia Medical School ProgramNorfolkVANo011
3625500001West Virginia University School of Medicine ProgramMorgantownWVNo20923.311

Concluding Thoughts

Plastic surgery is a competitive specialty for DOs. Thus, there are few places for DOs with only 4 residency programs accepting at least one DO. Moreover, DOs hoping to match in some of the most prestigious programs will find it more competitive as there are only a few programs accepting any DOs (eg., Cleveland Clinic and  Albany Medical Center Program).

Are you despairing at your chances of matching into plastic surgery as a DO? Then, check out Never Forget, where you can learn how to master – not memorize – for the impressive USMLE scores to match at your dream residency. And if you’re looking for a residency advisor, look at our residency advisory services.

Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.

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