Program Peek: Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Plastic Surgery
- The Vanderbilt Department of Plastic Surgery began in 1925 as a surgical specialty division under the Department of Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
- The education mission started in 1973 with John B. Lynch, MD, chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery, who founded the independent residency with three residents per year and 114 graduates thus far.
- Since 2017, the Department of Plastic Surgery has been under the leadership of Department Chair Galen Perdikis, MD.
- In 2019, the integrated residency was launched under the leadership of Program Director Brian Drolet, MD.
- Galen Perdikis, MD: Chair and Professor of the Plastic Surgery Department. His clinical interest areas include breast, aesthetic and reconstructive microsurgery.
- Kent "Kye" Higdon, MD: Associate Professor, Vice Chair ofClinical Practice and Development, Program Director of the Independent Plastic Surgery Fellowship. His clinical interest areas include breast, aesthetic and reconstructive microsurgery.
- Brian Drolet, MD: Associate Professor, Vice Chair of Education, Program Director of Independent Plastic Surgery Residency and the hand surgery Fellowship. His clinical interest areas include hand and upper extremity surgery and biomedical ethics.
- Salam Kassis, MD: Assistant Professor, Research Director. His clinical interest areas include migraine, peripheral nerve, transgender and aesthetic surgery, and reconstructive microsurgery.
- Stephane Braun, MD: Assistant Professor. His clinical interest areas include pediatric plastic and fetal surgery, breast reconstruction and reconstructive microsurgery.
- Michael Golinko, MD: Professor of Plastic Surgery and Otolaryngology, Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, Director of the Cleft and Craniofacial Program.
- Kevin Kelly, MD, DDS: Associate Professor. His clinical interest areas include pediatric and adult craniofacial surgery.
- John Bradford Hill, MD: Assistant professor. His clinical interest areas include hand and upper-extremity surgery.
- Blair Summitt, MD: Assistant Professor. His clinical interest areas include burns, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery.
- Wesley Thayer, MD, PhD: Associate Professor, Research Vice Chair. His clinical interest areas include hand, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery.
- Megan Vucovich, MD: Assistant Professor. Her clinical interest areas include breast and aesthetic surgery.
- Brinkley Sandvall, MD: Assistant Professor. Her clinical interest areas include pediatric hand surgery and microsurgery.
- Julian Winocour, MD: Assistant Professor. His clinical interest areas include microsurgery and transgender surgery.
- Dr. Perdikis is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of ASPS, the Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (SESPRS) and the American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS). He's served as president of the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons, and he's a SESPRS Board Trustee and co-chair of the ASPS Practice Management Committee.
- Dr. Higdon is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of ASPS, SESPRS and AAPS. He serves on the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons (ACAPS) Professionalism and Ethics Committee; ASPS Patient Safety Committee; ASPS Young Plastic Surgeons Steering Committee; and the Aesthetic Society Patient Safety Committee.
- Dr. Drolet is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of ASPS; American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH); American Association for Hand Surgery (AAHS); SESPRS; and AAPS. He serves on the ACAPS Education Committee (Co-Chair); ACAPS Resident Selection Committee (Chair); ASSH Ethics and Professionalism Committee; and ASSH E.R. Hand Care Committee.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center provides 1,105 total beds – 834 adult and 271 pediatric. The cosmetic surgery practice has three dedicated private O.R. suites, while VUMC's main campus has 56 adult and 16 pediatric O.R.s, which enables VUMC to annually perform more 51,000 surgeries. There are 14 plastic surgeons on faculty, and the residency program consists of two independent recruits per year and one integrated recruit per year, for a total resident complement of 12 – which offers the best of both worlds. We take pride in our early graduated independence and our high operative volume. On average, chiefs graduate with 2,202 reconstructive cases (required minimum 1,000) and 305 aesthetic cases (required minimum 150). Additionally, the graduating chiefs have the opportunity to direct their own aesthetic clinic and to schedule their own surgical cases, with oversight from faculty as needed. Furthermore, residents have the opportunity to be part of a grant-funded research team with major focus on peripheral nerve studies, transgender outcome studies, quality improvement studies and migraine surgery. The research lab is currently under the leadership of Dr. Kassis and Dr. Thayer.
The clinical experience of the residents occurs across four sites:
- The Vanderbilt University Medical Center – Main Campus: Where the majority of residents rotate through different pods such as reconstructive/transgender; breast/aesthetic; microsurgery (roughly 100 DIEP flaps and more than 150 free flaps per year); hand/nerve surgery; and craniomaxillofacial surgery.
- Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt: Residents rotate here for additional craniomaxillofacial and pediatric plastic surgery experience. They also have the opportunity to be part of the cleft care multidisciplinary team.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center: Residents' main exposure at the VA is general reconstructive plastic surgery and elective hand surgery.
- Nashville Community: The senior residents and Fellows have the opportunity to rotate with aesthetic plastic surgeons in the community to increase cosmetic surgical exposure and learn the intricacies of private practice.
- Weekly didactic conference led by faculty covering the breadth of plastic surgery
- Monthly mortality and morbidity conference
- Monthly oral boards-style conference led by faculty
- Monthly Journal Club
- Quarterly visiting professors
- Fresh cadaver labs three times per year
- Quarterly city-wide Journal Club with community plastic surgeons
- Annual microsurgery lab training
- The annual Thuss Lecture is a great opportunity for the residents to learn about advances in plastic surgery from the specialty's leaders. This lecture is made possible through the generosity of Charles J. Thuss Jr., MD, and Mrs. Charles J. Thuss. Dr. Thuss was a 1961 Vanderbilt Medical School graduate.
Fellowship Training Programs
- 2020: Adult & Pediatric Craniomaxillofacial Surgery Fellowship launched under the leadership of Dr. Golinko
- 2021: Hand and Upper-Extremity Surgery Fellowship launched under the leadership of Dr. Drolet
- Living in Nashville, the "Music City" we all love. Nashville is a booming city with an artistic tint; it offers an ever-growing real estate market, all four seasons and a sophisticated culinary experience.
- Allocated academic funding
- Sponsored meeting attendance
- High-volume operative exposure early in residency, with graduated autonomy
- Assigned clinical mentor to help guide you through residency
- Loupe/equipment expense fund per year
- Junior resident – Senior resident procedure clinic starting at PSY-II level
- Integrated residents work with independent Fellows in a supportive educational culture.
Dr. Assi is PGY-7 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.