Do not tell plastic surgeons what plastic surgery is all about. This one is SUPER common. We see this phrase all the time; “plastic surgery is…” It generally depicts a superficial understanding of a limited aspect of the field. Everyone reading your personal statement already knows about plastic surgery.
(that is a guaranteed way to bore your reader), although you should highlight or expound on certain elements that support the story you’re telling and are relevant to plastic surgery.
Start by writing down what you’re really interested in. Your essay doesn’t necessarily need to address these questions, but it’s a good place to start…
You are not an expert on plastic surgery (yet). You are an expert on YOU. Spend your time writing about that.
2. You are encouraged to have interests outside plastic surgery but remember that the whole point of applying and matching to a plastic surgery residency is to get surgical training. If it seems like all you want to do is research, leverage your MD/MBA into hospital administration, or design surgical devices for a living, then the programs reading your statement will rightly ask why they would devote 6-7 years to training you.
The Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh conducts scientific investigation in multiple interdisciplinary areas. The scope of our projects revolves around tissue reconstruction. As such, we have three separately housed laboratories focused on tissue engineering, transplant immunology, and pediatric craniofacial biology (Figure 1). Each of the laboratories is co-directed by a surgeon and a scientist. Total, we have 15 Faculty
A particular effort in our laboratory is the training of our residents. Our program requires the residents to spend one dedicated year in one of our laboratories. During this year, the residents are able to interact with a multitude of experienced researchers, and are encouraged to explore their own research ideas. They are also mentored by their PI’s and asked to submit grant applications, primarily submitted to the Plastic Surgery Foundation. Indeed, our Department has been awarded the majority of the PSF awards over the past 5 years. The residents have published in numerous top-tier journals and have won numerous awards throughout the past decade.
Adipose Stem Cell Center
In 2002, J. Peter Rubin, MD and Kacey G. Marra, PhD formed the Tissue Engineering Research Laboratory, and shortly thereafter, they developed the Adipose Stem Cell Center (ASCC). As such, a major focus in the laboratory is the use of adipose-derived stem cells for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. There are currently 30 members in the ASCC, including high school students, undergraduate students, medical students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, laboratory technicians, trained surgeons, general surgery residents, plastic surgery residents, and research faculty.