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  1. #1
    ezterra is offline Newbie 510 points
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    The best approach to general surgery application

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    Hello everyone,

    I am a 9yo IMG with extensive non-US surgical experience (I have been working and work as a surgeon in Russia and South Africa), PhD, scores in 80s and in need of H1B visa. I have a few questions to those who’s already in the surgical residency or still planning to get there.

    How many preliminary surgery spots fall available after the Match yearly, any statistics? Is it feasible to find a GS preliminary position during the Scramble? Which approach will work best (I am interested only in GS): 1) to apply to both preliminary and categorical positions in each and every (or selectively) program or 2) apply only to categorical spots and, if no interview/match, look for a preliminary post in the Scramble? Any personal experiences? How many IMGs found a GS categorical position at the first try? With what credentials? Any advice would be greatly appreciated?

    Alex

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    AUCMD2006's Avatar
    AUCMD2006 is offline Ultimate Member 6129 points
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    unfortunately the odds aren't good. surgical programs have more than enough applicants from the US schools and have absolutely no need to fill them with foreign grads wether you have credentials or not and you need a visa also which is another problem.

    you will however likely find a pre-lim spot because everyone knows those usually lead nowhere and do not take it. i personally know more than 5 img's that are pre lims, some on their second year as pre lims and out of a job. some couldn't find anything and are back home, one was a surgeon in india for 10 years, others had to scramble into peds and IM. point is if you get a pre lim spot it doesn't guarantee anything and even after you do the pre-lim year you still have to apply to the program throught the match anyway as a first year and loose that year (second year spots are hard to find).

    the way a program director put is that pre lim spots are slave labor that they don't have to graduate and one actually stopped interviewing foreign grads that didn't already live here b/c they felt bad about making them loose the year and moving here.

    the only thing you have in your favor is experience with the slight shot at impressing someone in a pre lim slot and continuing on. however the odds are slim again, i have rotated at 4 hospitals in 3 states and was interested in surgery so i found out as much as i could, only one pre lim in 5 years that i met was upgraded to catagorical at one program and only because the catagorical resident dropped out the first week and they had to fill the slot fast.

    just find out all the info you can about pre lim years so you don't waste 2 years with nothing to show in the end, they were pretty pissed
    AUCMD2006
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  3. #3
    ezterra is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Thank you for my chances analysis and preliminary year horrors. However, the question was about the best approach. Let me put it short. As I see from MRMP statistics (just found it), 40% of preliminary spots (480) go unfilled every year and only 83% of AMG fill the categorical positions. So... Is there any sense in applying to both cats and prelims and reducing your chances to find a categorical post to zilch, if you can always scramble for preliminary in case you fall unmatched? Maybe it makes more sense to apply to cats in "weak" programs and to both in "strong" ones? Maybe not?
    Last edited by ezterra; 08-07-2006 at 12:09 PM.

  4. #4
    AUCMD2006's Avatar
    AUCMD2006 is offline Ultimate Member 6129 points
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    didn;t mean to sound harsh or critique it's just that people not familiar with the current status are surprised. surgery used to be easy to get and maybe again in a few years, things tend to go in waves.

    you should apply to both, you will absolutely get a pre-lim spot, just when you interview and are at the informal dinner ask how many of their pre-lims they take into catagorical. some programs don't take any, some will take 1 or 2 out of 5 or 6 pre lims in the program, imgaine the back stabbing and competition.

    also as for catagorical spots there were 2 open this match. all the img prelims i knew said they had above 230 on step 1 and 2 and still were unable to do it becvause they needed visas.

    just know its rough and thoroughly research the program and make sure you take a pre lim spot at a site that actually sets aside a spot. good luck
    AUCMD2006
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  5. #5
    ezterra is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Thank you. I appreciate your help.

  6. #6
    doctor_doctor is offline Newbie 510 points
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    eh rrod man, can i ask u a question?

    did u say that a prelim for him was easy?.....i'm a US citz with step 1/214 awaiting CS results and will sit CK in November......eventually i'd like anesthesia, so is prelim. surg within my reach also?.....do u mean through the match or scramble?.....pls note that i might not get all that many interviews in the match without my CK scores......would appreciate ur advice.....thanks alot man!


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    AUCMD2006's Avatar
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    all my infro is from researching and asking surgery residents, not first hand experience so double check for yourself. IM pre-lim spots are competitive because some residencies like rads and PMR require a year pre-lim before starting...which would you rather have, a year in IM or a year as a no future scut monkey on a surgical service? thats why IM pre lim is competitive.

    surgical pre-lim from all i have been told is pretty easy to get, the programs i saw were mostly IMG's so that is usually the litmus test of competitiveness. look up programs, Email the program and tell them you only need a year of pre-lim and aren't looking to try out for a catagorical spot, i am sure you will land something since most programs use surgical pre-lims as slave labor and have no intention on graduating them..

    good luck
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