Plastic Surgery

The Division of Plastic Surgery has been granted approval for 3 residents per year in a 3-year program by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. 

The objective is to provide broad and deep enough training to enable a graduate of UAB Plastics to obtain certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and enter clinical practice out of training (either private or academic).

Although the minimum requirement for admission to plastic surgical training is 3 years of General Surgery, the majority of applicants accepted to UAB Plastics have completed their full General Surgery training.

The Division of Plastic Surgery contributes to the training of General Surgery house officers, particularly in the areas of reconstructive surgery, including skin grafts, flaps, burns, management and diagnosis of facial fractures, and evaluation and treatment of hand injuries. A single General Surgery resident rotates through the Plastic Surgery Service where they participate in operative procedures, attend all conferences, and function as an integrated member of the plastic surgery team.

Plastic Surgery co-operates with other specialties solve some of the most difficult clinical problems such as burn deformities, congenital deformities of the head and neck, soft tissue and bony defects in the lower extremities, and the reconstruction of post-bariatric deformities.

UAB Main Hospital is a state of the art, recently built, modern surgical hospital which performs over 35,000 surgical cases per year. UAB Plastics faculty manage a wide variety of traumatic hand, extremity, and facial injuries while supporting the Divisions of Trauma and Orthopedics. There is a daily collaboration between the UAB Breast Center and UAB Plastics which provides the complete range of breast reconstruction (expanders, implants, latissimus flaps, microsurgical reconstruction, DIEP flaps, etc.). All faculty maintain an elective schedule at relatively high volume ensuring adequate case numbers for residents on a given service.

Resident call is mainly home call. A representative call schedule for 2009 is provided here. UAB Plastics covers Face Trauma Call the first 7 days of each month. Hand Trauma Call is handled by the division for the last 20 days of the month. The residency complies with all ACGME regulations regarding work hours. The faculty is known to work independent of resident support if neccessary to assure compliance. The 2009 rotation schedule is provided by this link.  

UAB Highlands Outpatient Surgical Center was recently acquired by the UAB Health System and provides a different venue in terms of design and work flow from the University Main Hospital. The faculty who focus their practice on aesthetic and elective body contouring perform the majority of their cases at this location.

At the VA Medical Center, the Plastic Surgical Service is involved with general reconstructive problems as well as the management of malignancies of the skin, particularly of the face, and cooperates with the Head and Neck Service in the reconstruction of difficult defects. A liaison with the Division of Orthopedic Surgery complements their excellent management of hand problems and allows a cooperative effort in the performance of microvascular surgery. 

Consultation and treatment are provided in the specialty centers that include the Spain Rehabilitation Center for Spinal Cord Injuries and the Diabetes Hospital.

At Children's Hospital, the Plastic Surgery Service performs much reconstructive surgery of traumatic and congenital defects, including approximately 50 primary cleft lip and palate patients annually, as well as other craniofacial anomalies. The volume of congenital anomalies at Children's Hosptial is one of the largest in the region. For children with burns, reconstructive surgery using innovative procedures to improve function and ameliorate the aesthetic deformity is also provided. 

The Division's very active research endeavors embrace the following categories: (1) Anatomical research of fresh and fixed cadavers to determine the venous returns of different flaps, and to discover new and safer flaps. The availability of cadavers also facilitates teaching and practicing actual operative procedures that are performed by residents and faculty. (2) Basic research is performed on a number of aspects of wound healing, particularly the role of muscle in the prevention of infection and its use as a biologic dressing. (3) The Microvascular Laboratory complements available facilities by providing further opportunities for research projects by residents and students. (4) Cooperation with the Biomaterials Laboratory, the Oral Surgical Department, and the Oncology Service allows the joint study of various aspects of clinical problems.

Inquiries regarding the Plastic Surgery Residency Program should be submitted to:

Luis O. Vasconez, M.D.
Professor and Director
Division of Plastic Surgery
Department of Surgery
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama 35294-3295
Phone: (205) 934-3245