Program Overview

Learn more about the the trainee experience during the Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency program at the University of Michigan.

The Michigan Medicine Department of Surgery trains the future leaders of surgery.

Learn more about how to apply, review FAQs, and meet our resident liaisons →

Clinical Experience

Training consists of 6 clinical years and a research year. Clinical years are divided into roughly three phases:

  • Phase 1: Training focuses on the transition from medical student to physician, developing general surgical knowledge and skill, as well as specialized focus on plastic surgery.
  • Phase 2: Residents solidify their foundation in plastic surgery and become competent surgeons-in-general, capable of overseeing large clinical services.
  • Phase 3: Residents add finesse to their plastic surgery capabilities, becoming capable of independent practice as competent plastic surgeons. 

After the third or fourth clinical years, residents get a year free of clinical duties to pursue research and other academic interests.

Throughout your surgical training, you’ll develop increasing independence and learn side-by-side with experienced faculty. The resident-to-faculty ratio is typically 1:1, and residents rarely watch other residents perform surgery.

Because of our diverse and high-volume caseload, the number of operative opportunities far exceeds the number of residents. That gives us the freedom to connect residents to the best educational cases. 

Your training ground consists of the University of Michigan Medical Center — comprising an adult hospital, a children’s and women’s hospital, a cardiovascular center, and multiple outpatient surgery centers; Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in nearby Ypsilanti, Michigan; St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital; and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, serving nearly 27,000 inpatients per year.

This mix of facilities provides exposure to academic medicine as well as community hospital settings. All three hospitals see a high volume of cases. 

Rotation Schedule


  • Cutaneous Oncology, Head & Neck, Wounds, Cosmetic at University Hospitals (Red): 1 month
  • Breast Reconstruction, Microsurgery, Burn Reconstruction at University Hospitals (Blue): 1 month
  • Cosmetic/Aesthetics (Silver): 2 months
  • General Surgery - Hepatobiliary & Surgical Oncology (Gold): 1 month
  • Hand & Microsurgery: 1 month
  • Veterans Administration Vascular/General Surgery: 1 month
  • Vascular Surgery: 1 month
  • Acute Care Surgery: 1 month
  • General Surgery - Transplant: 1 month
  • Pediatric Surgery: 1 month
  • General Surgery - Hepatobiliary & Surgical Oncology (Gold): 1 month


  • Day Float: 2 months
  • Hand & Microsurgery: 2 months
  • Cosmetic/Aesthetics (Silver): 2 months
  • St. Joseph Mercy Hospital: 2 months
  • Acute Care Surgery (Trauma)/ECR (Emergency Consult Resident): 1 month
  • Surgical Intensive Care Unit/Critical Care: 1 month
  • Orthopaedics: 1 month
  • Anesthesia: 1 monthPGY-3
  • Day Float: 1 month
  • Night Float: 2 months
  • Cutaneous Oncology, Head & Neck, Wounds, Cosmetic at University Hospitals (Red): 1 month
  • Cosmetic/Aesthetics (Silver): 1 month
  • General Surgery - Hepatobiliary & Surgical Oncology (Gold): 1 month
  • General Surgery - Surgical Oncology: 1 month
  • St. Joseph Mercy Hospital: 1 month
  • Head & Neck Oncology (ENT Blue): 1 month
  • General/Laryngology/Facial Plastics/Rinology/Skull Base (ENT Maize): 1 month
  • Trauma-Burn-Emergency: 1 month


  • Veteran's Administration: 4 months
  • Cutaneous Oncology, Head & Neck, Wounds, Cosmetic at University Hospitals (Red): 1 month
  • Breast Reconstruction, Microsurgery, Burn Reconstruction at University Hospitals (Blue): 1 month
  • Cosmetic/Aesthetics (Silver): 1 month
  • St. Joseph Mercy Hospital: 2 months
  • Night Float: 1 month
  • Oculoplastic Surgery: 1 month
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery: 1 month


  • Breast Reconstruction, Microsurgery, Burn Reconstruction at University Hospitals (Blue): 2 months
  • Cutaneous Oncology, Head & Neck, Wounds, Cosmetic at University Hospitals (Red): 2 months
  • Craniofacial (Gold): 2 months
  • St. Joseph Mercy Hospital: 2 months
  • Hand & Microsurgery: 3 months
  • Elective: 1 month


  • Cutaneous Oncology, Head & Neck, Wounds, Cosmetic at University Hospitals (Red): 4 months
  • Breast Reconstruction, Microsurgery, Burn Reconstruction at University Hospitals (Blue): 4 months
  • Craniofacial (Gold): 4 months
  • Cosmetic/Aesthetics (Silver): 4 months

Academic Development Time

Residents have a non-accredited year of Academic Development Time (ADT) between clinical training years PGY-3 and PGY-4. The first three years of residency provide an opportunity for residents to become familiar with the research being done in the department, develop relationships with primary investigators, and finalize a research proposal.


Regular didactics round out your clinical experience, including:

  • A weekly seminar based on rotating curriculum.
  • A monthly basic science seminar.
  • A monthly journal club.
  • Talks and cadaver labs with 4 to 6 nationally known visiting professors each year. Recent visiting experts include Drs. Joseph Losee, Gregory Borschel, Ming-Huei Cheng, Catherine Curtin, Lee Dellon, Julius Few, Richard Gelberman, Bahman Guyuron, Michelle James, Janice Lalikos, Susan Mackinnon, Babak Mehrara, Amy Moore, Salvatore Pacella, Andrea Pusic, Arash Momeni, Bauback Safa, Loren Schechter.
  • A case presentation conference tied to the weekly seminar topics.
  • A morbidity and mortality conference.
  • An ethics conference.
  • Dissection courses in the anatomy lab.
  • Clinical simulation training in the accredited and expanding Clinical Simulation Center.
  • Microsurgery skills training.

Residents also receive time and funding to attend regional and national meetings, including a maxillofacial surgery course, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Scientific Meeting during their chief year.

Research & Academic Opportunities

Residents seeking a rewarding research experience will find that at Michigan, too. With a year free from clinical responsibilities, you’ll have ample time to pursue research in one of our basic science labs, or working on translational and health outcomes research.

An NIH T32 Training Grant supports 2 year-long research fellowships, and residents who’ve completed this opportunity demonstrate excellence in academic medicine, with an average of 30 peer-reviewed publications, 3 grants, and 15 national awards received by graduating chief residents in the past couple of years. 

Research opportunities include working in our:

Resident Life

You’ll work hard at Michigan, but we recognize the importance of balancing work with personal time and wellness. When you are at work, we provide you with the support and the tools that make for a fulfilling professional experience.

All plastic surgery residents are part of the House Officers Association, a collective bargaining unit. The HOA contract provides a competitive salary that increases as you progress through residency, and that provides a comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and retirement contributions in the form of an annual bonus.

Underlying this support is a culture that emphasizes collegiality and meaningful relationships, and we don’t mind having some fun along the way — including at our annual “roast” that immortalizes memorable moments of the past year. 

The Department of Surgery supports the Michigan Promise, a commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment in which all individuals can achieve the highest excellence in clinical care, research, and education. This commitment includes a variety of professional development opportunities, including a Resident Leadership Development Program to provide training in leadership skills.

Salary & Benefits

The University of Michigan offers highly competitive salaries and tremendous benefits to our residents/fellows. An overview of salary, benefits and employment eligibility is available on the GME Office website.