Plastic Surgery Integrated Residency

Plastic Surgery Residency Header 
The Spectrum Health/Michigan State University Plastic Surgery Integrated Residency trains residents in a variety of specialties, such as trauma, burn, hand surgery and pediatric plastic surgery. In addition to inpatient training, residents also rotate at accredited office-based private surgical centers that provide ambulatory and cosmetic surgery training. This valuable experience teaches residents the business of plastic surgery, thus preparing them to better handle the economic challenges that all plastic surgeons encounter.

We offer an environment of collegiality with rigorous academic pursuit and a demand for excellence for all of our residents. We believe the best way to learn plastic surgery is through a combination of early and extensive operative experience, coupled with a robust didactic curriculum and emphasis on research, fostering a tradition of inquiry. Our mission is to educate and train qualified plastic surgeons who possess sound fundamental knowledge of anatomy and surgery, are competent in their specialty, capable of making sound surgical decisions, and fully prepared to become certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.


For Applicants

Residents in our program work in efficient hospital systems, thus minimizing service needs and maximizing resident education experience. This has resulted in outstanding plastic surgery in-service scores and board pass rates. Our residents also routinely secure exceptional postgraduate fellowships at such esteemed institutions as the Cleveland Clinic and Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat for cosmetic surgery; microsurgery fellowships at the Mayo Clinic and Buncke Clinic in San Francisco; as well as hand surgery fellowships at Green’s San Antonio program, University of Southern California, University of New Mexico, and the Medical College of Wisconsin. In addition, our residents have completed fellowships at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital in pediatric craniofacial surgery, as well as at Northwestern University in craniofacial reconstruction. Our residents excel in these fellowships, demonstrating the effectiveness of our curriculum and their early and extensive operative experience.

Our program faculty act as clinical coordinators and mentors to residents in their offices, in surgery, and during conferences. Our education atmosphere fosters a personal, yet team-oriented learning experience where residents are respected and appreciated. We believe that the Spectrum Health/Michigan State University Plastic Surgery Residency is one of the most unique and exciting training programs in the nation. We combine academic excellence and early and extensive operative experience in a broad range of plastic surgery subspecialties including cosmetic surgery, reconstruction, burn surgery, microsurgery, hand surgery, oculoplastic surgery, pediatric plastic surgery, and dermatologic surgery.
Residents are provided training at three acute care teaching hospitals, each offering unique training experiences. Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, a level 1 trauma center, is the main teaching hospital where such rotations as trauma, burn, hand surgery, and pediatric plastic surgery are completed. An extensive experience with facial fractures occurs at this training site, where our residents provide exclusive coverage for facial trauma, as there are no other competing subspecialty training programs in the city such as OMFS or otolaryngology. Also, because of the significant number of acute hand injuries coming through the emergency department, our residents become competent in evaluating and treating these injuries at an early stage in their training.

Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital serves as a training site for breast reconstruction, general plastic surgery, and reconstructive surgical cases.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is a hospital that serves the underserved and inner-city population. Rotations in breast surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and general plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery are completed at this campus. The operative and office experience is varied and extensive, balancing resident autonomy with award winning teaching faculty.

Residents also rotate at three accredited office-based private surgical centers that provide ambulatory and cosmetic surgery training. This valuable experience teaches residents the business of plastic surgery, thus preparing them to better handle the economic challenges that all plastic surgeons encounter. Residents also operate at three other free-standing ambulatory surgical centers that are associated with hospital systems. These sites provide experience in fast-paced hand surgery cases, cosmetic surgery, and breast surgery.

Program Focus
Plastic Surgery Integrated Curriculum (13 four-week blocks)
  • Plastic surgery–two blocks–one block
  • Plastic surgery/hand surgery–one block
  • Trauma–one block
  • Surgical critical care–one block
  • Anesthesia–one block
  • Emergency medicine–one block
  • Surgical oncology–one block
  • Orthopaedic surgery/trauma–one block
  • General surgery–four blocks

  • Plastic surgery–two blocks
  • Plastic surgery/hand surgery–one block
  • Pediatric plastic surgery–one block
  • Plastic surgery/research–one block
  • Burn–two blocks
  • Breast surgery–one block
  • Trauma–one block
  • Surgical critical care–two blocks
  • General surgery–two blocks

  • Plastic surgery–three blocks
  • Hand surgery–two blocks
  • Pediatric plastic surgery–one block
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery–one block
  • Oculoplastics–one block
  • Surgical dermatology–one block
  • Pediatric surgery–one block
  • Vascular surgery–one block
  • Transplant–one block
  • General surgery–one block

  • Core/cosmetic plastic surgery–four blocks
  • Hand surgery–four blocks
  • Pediatric plastic surgery–two blocks
  • Breast surgery–two blocks
  • Plastic surgery/research–one block

  • Core/cosmetic plastic surgery–eight blocks
  • Hand surgery–three blocks
  • Breast surgery–two blocks

  • Advanced core/cosmetic plastic surgery–seven blocks
  • Advanced pediatric plastic surgery–one block
  • Advanced hand surgery–two blocks
  • Advanced breast surgery–two blocks
  • Elective

Average five hours per week of protected time for high quality educational curriculum and include:
  • Weekly basic science covering selected readings in plastic surgery, Grabb & Smith, Neligan’s Plastic Surgery, as well as Flaps and Syndromes
  • Weekly faculty teaching conferences, oral board review format
  • Weekly hand surgery conferences with chapter review of Trumble Principles of Hand Surgery and Therapy, and Green’s Operative Hand Surgery
  • Weekly plastic surgery grand rounds; follows a three-year curriculum and includes monthly morbidity & mortality review
  • Weekly faculty-directed walk rounds
  • Monthly journal club graciously hosted in faculty homes or offices, includes critical appraisal of current plastic surgery literature through an evidence-based medicine approach, as well as interesting case review

For research support, the scholarly activity support team can assist you. The scholarly activity support team also offers biostatistics consultation, and poster preparation. Residents will be expected to submit their work for presentation at an institutional Research Day.
Grand Rapids has an escape room downtown in one of their old masonic temples. The plastic surgery residents formed two teams and we were able to put our heads together to solve the puzzles and escape from both rooms in under an hour.
Megan Dietze-Fiedler and Elizabeth Lucich enjoying Dr. Hammond’s “Lecture on the Lake.” Dr. Hammond, a world renowned breast surgeon, invited the residents out to his cottage on Sand Lake for grilled burgers, a beautiful sunset, and an educational lecture.
The residents have an annual retreat to relax and enjoy laughs together. In 2018, the retreat was in Manistee, MI. We visited a local brewery that included a behind the scenes tour and samples. After the brewery tour, the residents went camping at Orchard Beach State Park, enjoying a beautiful sunset on Lake Michigan, bonding around the campfire and s’mores.
Mr. Spartan (aka Matt Braza), Rachel Macias, Josh Kelley and Matt Fahrenkopf, some of our fittest residents, after successfully completing a Spartan race.
Learn more about us here.
Many of our alumni have moved on to sub-specialty fellowship training, see where they've gone
Spectrum Health provides a comprehensive and very competitive benefits package for our residents, staff and their families. In addition, our program provides educational monies to support your ongoing education. Download our salary and benefits document to learn more.
All applications are accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service. For application information, contact program coordinator, Sue Hartert by email or at 616.391.1909.

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