Pitt Department to Help Advance Plastic Surgery

By Erdley, Debra | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 9, 2012 | Go to article overview

Pitt Department to Help Advance Plastic Surgery


Erdley, Debra, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine stepped up training of next-generation plastic surgeons by starting a Department of Plastic Surgery, as top surgeons screen candidates for Pitt's first face transplant.

Dr. J. Peter Rubin, the department's inaugural chairman, said Pitt's decision reflects the growth of plastic surgery as an independent discipline and "the prominent role that the University of Pittsburgh has played in advancing the frontiers of this specialty."

That includes skills such as body contouring after bariatric surgery, research on regenerative medicine for injured war veterans, and hand and face transplants.

"We are screening people right now for face transplants. It is really a question of finding the best candidates," Rubin said.

As plastic surgery grew during the past two decades, so has the number of practitioners. The American Board of Plastic Surgery says the number of board-certified plastic surgeons doubled from 3,945 in 1990 to 7,943.

Pitt hopes to add to that number with a seven-year plastic surgery residency program that Rubin said is among the country's largest.

"We have 27 residents and five fellows," he said, adding that many go on to practice in specialty areas such as pediatric plastic surgery and hand surgery.

A Pitt spokesman said the medical school started its residency program in plastic surgery in 1948 and since has trained 310 residents in its division of plastic surgery. …

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