Trends in Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Accreditation for Subspecialty Fellowship Training in Plastic Surgery

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Abstract

Background:

The purposes of this study were to (1) determine the proportion of plastic surgery residents pursuing subspecialty training relative to other surgical specialties, and (2) analyze trends in Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education accreditation of plastic surgery subspecialty fellowship programs.

Methods:

The American Medical Association provided data on career intentions of surgical chief residents graduating from 2014 to 2016. The percentage of residents pursuing fellowship training was compared by specialty. Trends in the proportion of accredited fellowship programs in craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, and microsurgery were analyzed. The percentage of accredited programs was compared between subspecialties with added-certification options (hand surgery) and subspecialties without added-certification options (craniofacial surgery and microsurgery).

Results:

Most integrated and independent plastic surgery residents pursued fellowship training (61.8 percent versus 49.6 percent; p = 0.014). Differences existed by specialty from a high in orthopedic surgery (90.8 percent) to a low in colon and rectal surgery (3.2 percent). From 2005 to 2015, the percentage of accredited craniofacial fellowship programs increased, but was not significant (from 27.8 percent to 33.3 percent; p = 0.386). For hand surgery, the proportion of accredited programs that were plastic surgery (p = 0.755) and orthopedic surgery (p = 0.253) was stable, whereas general surgery decreased (p = 0.010). Subspecialty areas with added-certification options had more accredited fellowships than those without (100 percent versus 19.2 percent; p < 0.001).

Conclusion:

There has been slow adoption of accreditation among plastic surgery subspecialty fellowships, but added-certification options appear to be highly correlated.

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