How Do I Get Into Plastic Surgery As A Career?

Q: Hello Dr. Eppley, I would like to know anything you can offer to tell me about plastic surgery! I would love to be a plastic surgeon as a career in the near future! (: Right now i’m going into my senior year in high school. So any advice of how I can reach my dreams would be great! Thank you!!

A:  Few things can be achieved in life without a dream or goals. So it is good that you have a focus at this early age in your life. I have no idea what has captured your attention of plastic surgery as a career. While plastic surgery may seem glamorous, it is far cry from what you may have seen on TV or other mediums. It is hard work and a long arduous process with the foundation of becoming a physician first. This not only requires the traditional effort with college and then medical school but, equally importantly, some exposure to medicine and health care in some capacity along the way. Whether it be volunteer or part-time employed work at a hospital, emergency clinic or a doctor’s office, you need to see what being a physician is like up close. You need to discover if you have the interest and ultimately the passion for it. For it is these attractions to the field that will keep you going when you have to outstudy many others in the eight years of preparatory academic work (while others are at the football game, frat party or on that ski trip) or those six to eight years with many long nights on call during general and plastic surgery training.

It is never too early to begin your research into medicine as a career and I encourage you to begin now in any way you can. Plastic surgeons in many commnunities are always willing to allow observers either in the office or the operating room…and can give you a lot of good insights and information about the field.   

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana