Overview

The Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Integrated Residency Program trains medical school graduates to become expert physicians, skilled plastic surgeons, and leaders in health care.

Plastic surgery offers a unique variety of diverse and stimulating sub-specialties, including burn surgery, cleft and craniofacial plastic surgery, pediatric plastic surgery, wound healing, aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery, hand surgery, reconstruction after trauma or oncologic resection, aesthetic surgery of the face and body, oculoplastic surgery and microsurgery.

We offer an integrated plastic surgery training program, with a schedule of rotations designed to maximize the resident learning experience. Fully accredited, we accept two new residents a year. Residents gain experience in all plastic surgery sub-specialties through training at VCU Medical Center, Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, as well as several community hospitals and clinics in the greater Richmond area. 

Clinical Experience

Exposed to a wide variety of cases and consults, we're able to provide a rich and educational experience within the full scope of plastic and reconstructive surgery specialties.

As they advance in surgical experience, residents are expected to develop their teaching skills and supervise at least one surgical intern and two-to-three medical students during each monthly rotation.

Senior residents are expected to lead and manage teams in addition to providing educational opportunities, guiding junior residents and rotating interns while on clinical duty, during operative cases, and mentoring on the principles of plastic surgery.

Residents are either on the plastic surgery service or on a service outside of plastic surgery at the direction of the Program Director. Outside rotations include anesthesia, dermatology, breast imaging, upper extremity orthopedics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, otolaryngology, vascular surgery and surgical oncology.

The Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Rotations

Rotations are dedicated to hand surgery, burn surgery, craniofacial/pediatric plastic surgery, cosmetic and general reconstructive procedures.

Residents will supervise at least one surgical intern and two to three medical students on their monthly rotation, and will guide the team on their clinical duties, current cases and principles of plastic surgery.

VCU Medical Center:
Residents spend time at VCUMC during every year of training. They are exposed to the full gamut of tertiary adult and pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery. Residents work alongside attending physicians in the outpatient clinics, emergency room, and inpatient setting. Operative experience includes both the adult and pediatric ambulatory surgical centers as well as main operating room. The chief resident of the plastic surgery service is responsible for the running of the service which includes one or more interns, a junior plastic surgery resident, third- and fourth-year medical students, as well as both daytime and nighttime advanced practice providers. The chief resident assigns the operative cases to maximize each resident's surgical experience. 

McGuire VA Medical Center:
Residents handle a wide range of plastic and reconstructive concerns at this location, including reconstruction after Moh’s surgery, oculoplastic needs, and head/neck reconstruction, management of paraplegia and tetraplegia, breast reconstruction, hand/upper extremity reconstruction, as well as general plastic surgery.

Hand Surgery Rotation:
Residents gain a broad perspective on hand surgery through a combination of plastic surgery and orthopedic experience. Residents see and treat common hand problems in addition to microvascular and flap reconstruction, brachial plexus injuries and reconstruction for the paralyzed extremity, including tendon and muscle transfer.  Experience in evaluation both elective and traumatic hand concerns is provided both within the VA and VCU hospital systems as well as in community based offices.

Community Plastic Surgery Rotation:
We have established working relationships with many community hospitals in the greater Richmond area, including Chippenham, Henrico Doctors, Johnston-Willis, St. Francis and St. Mary’s Hospitals. Exposure to community plastic surgery practices offers residents valuable insight into office setup and office-based surgical procedures.

Research

The Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory is located on the medical campus and provides a setting for the investigation of tissue injury and the process of tissue repair. The lab was founded more than 30 years ago and has received continual funding from the National Institutes of Health ever since.

For more information, contact dorne.yager@vcuhealth.org.

Conferences

  • Plastic surgery grand rounds/pre-op conference: This is a weekly presentation of all scheduled cases for the coming week with a discussion of the disease process, indications for surgery and the choice of operation. Hospital wide and division level quality improvement initiatives are also discussed.
  • Hand Journal Clubs: Dedicated hand surgery journal clubs take place monthly at VCUMC as well as quarterly among community hand surgeons. Residents are highly encouraged to attend both.
  • Case presentations: Fellows present four or five cases, with attending supervision, to begin their preparation for the oral board examinations.
  • M&M conference: Conferences are held bimonthly to discuss any complications and/or adverse outcomes and ensure that we meet and exceed the standard of care.
  • Faculty lecture: VCU faculty or visiting professors lecture on various aspects of plastic surgery.


Other conferences

  • Laboratory Research Conference
  • General surgery grand rounds (weekly)
  • Plastic Surgery Journal Club (monthly)
  • Microsurgery lab (monthly)
  • Aesthetic Journal Club
  • Annual Theogaraj Conference
  • Annual Global Surgery Symposium at VCU
  • Plastic Surgery Intern Boot Camp
  • American Society for Maxillofacial Surgery Basic Course

Each chief resident is funded to attend one national conference or course.  Recent examples include: Penn Annual Flap Dissection Course, American Association for Hand Surgery Annual Meeting, and the American Association for Plastic Surgery.

Global Surgery

During the chief year, through a partnership with World Pediatric Project, senior residents accompany core faculty to the island of St Vincent in the Eastern Caribbean for exposure to the practice of plastic surgery in a low-resource setting.

Patients travel from eight different island nations for evaluation and may receive pediatric plastic surgery services at Milton Cato Hospital. Resident are also involved in the care of international patients with a variety of complex craniofacial needs who travel to Richmond for expert services.  Interested plastic surgery residents may earn a global clinical scholar distinction.  VCU Program for Global Surgery provides relevant educational offering throughout the academic year. 

VCU Program for Global Surgery

How to apply

All applicants must be licensed or eligible to practice medicine in Virginia. Applicants must also be within four years of graduation from medical or dental school and have three months of clearly documented direct patient care activity in the U.S. or Canada. Clinical rotations at medical and dental schools and externships of direct patient care meet this requirement. Observerships and research fellowships do not qualify.

Applications and other supporting material must be submitted using the ERAS system by October 15.

Requirements include:

  • Three letters of recommendation from U.S. or Canadian physicians, including the chair of surgery or designee dean’s letter (or equivalent)
  • Medical school transcript
  • Personal statement
  • Results of USMLE, NBME or equivalent (all applicants must have passed Part 1 of the USMLE and must pass Part 2 by June of the end of their first year to avoid probation; there is no minimum board score requirement)

Additional requirements for international applicants include:

  • J-1 Visa
  • ECFMG certificate (interviews can be granted prior to obtaining certification)
  • TOEFL score of at least 600 (if not enrolled in a U.S. or Canadian residency program within 18 months of earning an ECFMG certificate)

From the Program Director

From the director

From the Program Director

"The Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Division's Integrated Residency Program is looking for people who have a sincere passion for plastic surgery as well as for serving others. Unique among the surgical disciplines, we do not define ourselves by an organ system but rather by a set of tools which are applied to meet the individualized needs of each patient. We care for the whole person, helping people to look, feel, and function their very best."

Jennifer L. Rhodes, MD, FACS

Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Contact Us

Jennifer L. Rhodes, MD
Program Director
jennifer.rhodes@vcuhealth.org

Shaun McCafferty
Residency Program Coordinator
shaun.mccafferty@vcuhealth.org
(804) 828-3039


Office Location
West Hospital
16th Floor, North Wing

Mailing address
Box 980154
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0154

Phone: (804) 823-3033
Fax: (804) 828-0489