American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Program Peek: University of Wisconsin-Madison


  • The University of Wisconsin Plastic Surgery Residency Program was founded in the 1970s by Bernard Frank, MD.
  • The program was expanded by Col. Dave Dibbell, MD, after serving in the U.S. Air Force. He established international outreach initiatives as a cornerstone of the division and residency program with his efforts in Central and South America.
  • The resident class size was expanded from two to three residents in 2008.


  • Michael Bentz, MD: Layton F. Rikkers Chair of Surgical Leadership; Chair, Division of Plastic Surgery; Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics and Neurosurgery
  • A Neil Salyapongse, MD: Professor of Plastic Surgery; Program Director, University of Wisconsin Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency Program

National Leadership

  • Dr. Bentz served as chair of the American Board of Plastic Surgery; president of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons; president of the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons; president of the American Association of Pediatric Plastic Surgeons; and chair of the Plastic Surgery Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Dr. Salyapongse is the current chair of the Global Health Committee at the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons.
  • Delora Mount, MD, in 2019 was selected as the first female president of the American Society for Maxillofacial Surgeons (ASMS).

Clinical Experience

  • There are 18 integrated plastic surgery residents (in addition to one research resident); there are no plastic surgery Fellows.
  • Clinical rotations occur at the following sites:
    • UW Health University Hospital is a Level I adult and pediatric trauma center and NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center located in the heart of Madison. This is the site of general surgery rotations in the PGY1 and PGY2 years. In the PGY3-6 years, this is the primary location of major reconstructive procedures, including breast reconstruction, lower-extremity reconstruction, gender surgery and facial reconstruction.
    • American Family Children's Hospital: A nationally ranked Children's Hospital, residents here learn the fundamentals of pediatric plastic surgery – including cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis and congenital hand surgery – under the tutelage of Drs. Bentz, Mount and Garland. Additionally, facial free-flaps for treatment of Parry Romberg disease are performed here by John Siebert, MD.
    • William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital: The VA rotation is an opportunity for PGY4-5 residents to take ownership of cases with oversight from faculty members. Residents perform a wide variety of cases, including hand surgery and general reconstructive procedures.
    • Transformations Surgery Center: This off-campus, outpatient cosmetic surgery center is where PGY3s and PGY5s learn cosmetic surgery and common reconstructive procedures.
    • Madison Surgery Center is an outpatient surgery center where PGY2s and PGY4s complete a hand surgery rotation with plastic and orthopedic surgery faculty.
    • UnityPoint Meriter and St. Mary's Hospitals are community hospitals where PGY3-5 residents experience general plastic surgery practice. Unique opportunities at these sites include in-office facial reconstruction after Mohs surgery and oculoplastic procedures.
  • International Collaborations: UW Plastic Surgery emphasizes the development of long-term, sustainable global-health programs focused on local capacity-building and education of local plastic surgeons. Our flagship program is in Nicaragua. We've also established partnerships in Thailand, Egypt, Ecuador, Ethiopia and Vietnam.
  • Resident Injection and Laser Clinic was started due to a resident desire for more exposure to lasers and injectables such as fillers and Botox. This initiative is overseen by faculty volunteers and held biannually.

Educational Curriculum

  • Conference time is protected for all residents, including junior residents who may be off-service. Typically, conferences occur three times a week and include:
  • Plastic Surgery Grand Rounds, which features lectures by a faculty member, resident or visiting professor. A morbidity and mortality conference is held monthly.
  • Weekly Indications Conference is led by a faculty member and focuses on core plastic surgery topics for preparation for the InService exam and for oral boards. The conference is conducted in oral boards style.
  • Weekly Hand Conference is held in conjunction with orthopedic surgery. Conferences are led by a resident and faculty member and cover core topics in hand surgery.

Additional Educational Opportunities

  • Journal Club, which is held monthly and features articles and discussion relating to a specific theme (e.g., gender surgery). It's typically hosted at a faculty member's home and includes time for the department to enjoy a meal together.
  • Holistic Journal Club, which is held quarterly and is led by Dr. Venkat Rao. This is an opportunity to discuss articles and notable current events published outside of the plastic surgery literature which pertain to plastic surgery or the medical field as a whole.
  • Subspecialty Courses, which include, but are not limited to, an annual Maxillofacial Trauma course and an annual Microsurgery course. These multidisciplinary courses provide opportunities for cadaver dissection, anatomy review and collaboration among specialties and programs.


  • All residents are engaged in research projects that range from craniofacial, gender, hand and microvascular to surgical education and global surgery research.
  • Basic and clinical science research is overseen by Samuel Poore, MD, and Ahmed Afifi, MD, respectively.
  • One resident per class completes a fully funded research year between PGY3 and PGY4 years.
  • Residents complete a variety of basic, translational and clinical research projects, and they are encouraged to apply for national research funding grants. Established sources of research funding include DARPA and VA Merit Grants with Dr. Poore, and Dr. Siebert's endowed chair for research of hemifacial atrophy.
  • A dedicated research coordinator helps facilitate resident-led research projects.

Fellowship Training

  • 2020: Microsurgery (St. Vincent's, Melbourne, Australia); Hand (Mayo Clinic); Cosmetic Surgery (Atlanta, Ga.); General Practice
  • 2019: Craniofacial (Pittsburgh); Microsurgery (UPenn); Hand (Stanford)
  • 2018: Craniofacial (USC); General Practice
  • 2017: Hand (UCLA); Craniofacial (Emory); Cosmetic Surgery (Grant Stevens, MD, Los Angeles)

Resident Benefits

  • Year-round one-on-one training in microsurgical skills lab with experienced microsurgeon
  • One funded international trip alongside faculty member
  • One funded course during PGY5 year (ASMS Craniofacial or AO Hand)
  • Junior/senior mentoring program
  • Educational/book stipend
  • Funding for conference travel when presenting
  • Funded trip to ASPS for chief residents

Follow us on Instagram at @uwiscplasticsurgery or on Twitter at @WiscPlasticSurg.

Sarah Lyon (PGY3) and Rosaline Zhang (PGY1) are current residents at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.