Program Structure

Plastic Surgery Reunion

Training Tomorrow's Leaders

Duke offers a 6-year integrated residency training program to prepare physicians to become tomorrow’s leaders in plastic surgery.

Residents in the Duke Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Residency benefit from the breadth of experience provided by faculty in the Division of Plastic, Maxillofacial, and Oral Surgery and their collaborations with other divisions and departments.

Duke University Hospital is a Level One Trauma Center. Treatment of acutely injured patients is provided by the trauma service and is a cooperative effort by both plastic surgery and general surgery.

Clinical Activities

Residents benefit from Duke's experience and active clinical programs in:

  • Microsurgery
  • Facial reconstruction
  • Trauma, including facial trauma
  • Hand surgery
  • Reconstructive breast surgery
  • Cosmetic plastic surgery
  • Gender Affirmation Surgery
  • Facial Reanimation
  • Lymphedema

A vigorous microsurgery service is an integral part of the division.

Since 1974, approximately 2,000 vascularized composite tissue transfers have been performed with an overall success rate of more than 97 percent. Typically, two or three major microvascular cases are performed each week either at Duke University Medical Center or at the adjacent Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center.

There are a variety of cases performed on the Plastic Surgery service on a routine basis, offering residents a broad and diverse experience in microsurgical reconstruction. Common microsurgical procedures include breast reconstruction, upper and lower extremity salvage, functional muscle transfer for facial reanimation and brachial plexus pathology, as well vascularized lymph node transfer.

An active microsurgery laboratory is available to medical students and surgical residents for training in microsurgical technique.

Participation on the craniomaxillofacial team includes the evaluation and treatment of patients who have sustained facial trauma.

The division sponsors the Facial Rehabilitation Center, which evaluates and treats patients with a variety of congenital and acquired facial defects using a multidisciplinary team approach. Several hundred patients with cleft lip or palate are followed by the team on a routine basis, and more than 300 patients are seen each year. Many members of the cleft lip-palate team are nationally recognized for their clinical and research efforts. The center includes a facial reanimation program. The division also works closely with the Department of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences.

Maxillofacial and oral surgery is part of the division, limiting direct competition for congenital and acquired deformities of the jaw. Clinical research and expertise are directed at temporomandibular joint dysfunction, utilizing a team approach

The Duke Aesthetic Center is a free-standing facility dedicated to cosmetic plastic surgery. Chief residents may schedule their own patients for procedures, under the guidance of Duke faculty. 

Residents also participate with members of Duke Orthopaedics, providing soft tissue management for upper and lower extremity problems that are acute or chronic as well as a shared didactic program for Hand Surgery. Further hand training for plastic surgery residents includes a four-month experience on the multidisciplinary hand team with attending staff from both Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgery.

The division has a significant commitment to reconstructive breast surgery. The full spectrum of reconstruction is practiced, from implant reconstruction to perforator flap procedures. The staff is nationally renowned for teaching and innovating in this area.

Duke's Human Fresh Tissue Laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility, makes available human cadaver dissection for residents, fellows, and medical students. This is a valued source of education and research opportunity. This is also the site of the annual Duke Fresh Cadaver Flap Course, which hosts an international faculty and is geared for resident education. All residents in the program participate.