The world’s first formal surgical residency, launched at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1889, quickly became the model that all surgery training programs in the nation would strive to emulate. Ever since, Johns Hopkins-trained surgeons have been leaders in their fields.
Today, the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery continues that tradition of excellence. With 27 approved residency positions in a combined program with University of Maryland—one of the largest plastic surgery programs in the country—it encompasses both integrated and independent training tracks as well as fellowships in craniofacial surgery, burn surgery and microsurgery.
“Among the strengths is the fact that we have so many different faculty, with different interests, at different institutions,” says residency director Richard Redett, who also heads the Johns Hopkins Facial Paralysis and Pain Treatment Center. “We cover the entire gamut of plastic surgery operations from head to toe, and in high volume. Our residents emerge as highly skilled surgeons who can perform even the most complex reconstructions.”
The depth of faculty expertise includes mentors at the Johns Hopkins Burn Center and the busy pediatric, craniofacial and breast reconstruction surgeons at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Many faculty hold unique distinctions, including Department Director W. P. Andrew Lee, who led the team that performed the nation’s first double hand transplant in 2009, followed a year later by the first above-the-elbow transplant. These faculty members, along with partners at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma Center and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, provide residents with unparalleled learning opportunities.
Devised and revamped in 2011 by a committee of faculty and residents, the didactic curriculum offers expanded grand rounds, teaching and indications conferences, dedicated aesthetic and upper-extremity sessions, cadaver dissections, journal clubs, and small-group sessions in a variety of teaching hospitals and community settings.
Molding the “clinician-scientist,” a Johns Hopkins hallmark, is reinforced by a dedicated research year during the integrated residency and close collaborations between departmental researchers and their counterparts in organ transplantation, neurophysiology and stem cell biology. As reconstructive operations—including limb and face transplants—continue to break new ground, these surgeons are benefiting from the decades of experience gained by other scientific experts. The groups have lab space near one another on campus, making it even easier to share findings and cross-pollinate ideas.