Plastic Surgery residency curriculum overview

Mentorship model

SIU Plastic Surgery utilizes a mentorship model. There are five full-time plastic surgery faculty and one clinical part-time faculty.  The resident is assigned to a faculty member monthly. That resident is responsible for keeping the same schedule as the attending, including attending all cases, outpatient procedures in the office, rounds, orders, and notes from PGY1-6. This may also mean additional multidisciplinary boards for any patients for that month (VPI clinic, Head and neck tumor board, Melanoma clinic and tumor board, Breast tumor board). This model allows for a quicker development of skills, personalized teaching, and the development of autonomy.

Burn rotation

During the time on our burn months, residents manage adult and pediatric burn patients at both the general medical and IMC status. When burn patients require resuscitation, residents collaborate and work closely with the SIU Trauma Team at Memorial Medical Center's Regional Burn Center to learn burn resuscitation and management in the critically ill adult patient. We also work closely with the Pediatric ICU team at St. John’s Hospital to care for pediatric burn patients.

On this service, we work closely with our Burn Nurse Practitioner, Ashleigh Sommer, who helps with patient care coordination and resident teaching.

Surgical Skills Modules

We utilize the J. Roland Folse Surgical Skills Center for residents to hone their skills in the lab through hands on training. Some of the modules in our curriculum include:

Upper Extremity Anatomy & Nerve Surgeries Upper Extremity Flaps
Hand / Wrist ORIF Pinning, Scopes, eCTR, Cannulated Screws
Lower Extremity Flaps
Trunk / Chest and Breast Flaps
Cleft Lip and Palate
Facial Cosmetics and Migraine Surgeries
Maxillofacial Fractures and ORIF
Head and Neck Reconstruction and Flaps

Night float

We have a year-round night-float system; each resident will do a total of 6 months on night float during their time in residency. Night float contributes to several important aspects of wellness: less frequent 24-hour calls, sleep, time to study, and time at home.  The night float system was implemented several years ago, and it has been a beneficial way to ensure residents are not violating duty hours and are able to maintain a work-life balance.  

Off-service months

During the first three years of residency, residents also rotate with other surgical specialties to broaden their scope of skills and pertinent knowledge.  During this time, they attend plastic surgery conferences, but they are otherwise a part of the off-service team, including taking calls, rounding, and participating in cases.

Off-service rotations include: Trauma, Orthopedic Surgery, General Surgery (including Transplant Surgery), Neurosurgery, Vascular Surgery, Pediatric Surgery, Breast/Onc Surgery, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Dermatology (2 weeks), Surgical ICU, and ENT.

Research months

Residents are given 3 dedicated months of research between their PGY2 and PGY3 years to focus on research projects of their choice. During this time, they will work closely with our staff in the lab as well as our clinical research staff.  Residents can choose to use this time to work on grants, clinical research, or basic science research.

Residents are highly encouraged to attend national conferences. Each year, our division provides funds to cover the cost for each resident to attend a national meeting.