What Are the Surgical Requirements of a SENIOR RESIDENT and the Ptosis Aftermath?

Thank you for all your effort around my situation. But despite your clarifications, isn't it true a senior resident HAS to perform more and more of the surgery to meet requirements? And it only makes sense, because he is NEW at these "physical" skills, mistakes like my ptosis and my protuding ears ( skin was pulled in the wrong way- a plastic surgeon never would have made this "mistake") can happen. Ptosis can help pen because of lack of skill of a surgeon. Isn't that true?

Doctor Answers 7

Senior plastic surgery resident

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A senior plastic surgery resident is in his/her final year of plastic surgery training.  They may be better than some surgeons already finished and practicing or less so.  Their surgical procedures are performed on patients that have come through a residency clinic.  These procedures are approved and supervised by one of their professors (attendings).

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

What Are the Surgical Requirements of a SENIOR RESIDENT and the Ptosis Aftermath?

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Dear Beth,

A senior resident is a physician, but in his last year of training for that given specialty.  This means that they are not yet able to operate on their own, but under the supervision of the attending surgeon or faculty. Normally, the surgery is actually performed by the resident, especially if the patient came in through a senior resident clinic. 

Best wishes,

Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

The skills a plastic surgeon evolve over an entire career.

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A resident is a limited amount of experience by definition. Surgery performed by a resident is the responsibility of his attending physician. The freedom given during the course of an operation will be commensurate with the residents skill and experience.

Eyes wide open

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You should have entered this venture with your eyes wide open.  You sound like your knew your surgery was to be performed by a senior surgical resident.  At this point in a plastic surgeons career he has years of surgical experience and is backed by an attending staff.  Problems can occur following any surgery but in some incidences there is no substitute for experience.  It is impossible to tell if experience had anything at all to do with your complaints. 

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Resident treatment and complications

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Again, I would encourage you to discuss these concerns in a non-judgmental way with your plastic surgeon. By the time someone is the senior resident in plastic surgery, he or she would typically be in the seventh year of post-medical school training.  The supervising attending would not simply allow a resident to mis-operate and let the patient off the OR table in the way that you suggest.

Resident surgeons to not get to practice on private patients.

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There is only one way to maintain one's surgical reputation.  No one is so cavalier as to allow a resident surgeon, even a chief resident to operate on a private patient unless the attending surgeon is essential supervising each and every stitch.  I strongly recommend voicing you concerns with your surgeon and asking him or her if your concerns are valid.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Complications after facial surgery

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     Residents in training do not operate alone.  A staff surgeon must attend every surgery and offer a guiding hand.  The official surgeon of record is not the resident, but is the staff surgeon.  Every program has this basic fundamental requirement.  Resident do not do cosmetic surgery in the early period of training,  but learn skills in every day plastic surgery.  Once a resident is advanced, he or she can progress to cosmetic skills.   Complications can occur in any surgery and with any surgeon.  The person that must answer patient concerns and complaints is not the resident, but is the surgeon in charge.   Hope this helps.  My Best,  Dr C

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.