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Body Contouring Fellowship Program - Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowships

Obesity has become a major chronic health problem in this country, and is second only to tobacco as a cause of premature death. Bariatric surgery has evolved as an effective treatment for morbid obesity, inducing rapid and predictable weight loss within a period of 12 to 18 months following surgery.

The dramatic increase in volume of bariatric surgery procedures in the United States has resulted in a large number of patients with secondary deformities of hanging skin after massive weight loss. Consequently, body contouring after weight loss is emerging as the fastest growing field of plastic surgery.

Patients seek consultation with a plastic surgeon to correct skin laxity of the abdomen, thighs, chest, back, and neck, and often undergo multiple procedures involving lengthy incisions. The Life After Weight Loss program at the University of Pittsburgh is a unique clinical center dedicated to meeting the body contouring needs of the massive weight loss patient.

Duration and Scope

  • Length of educational program is 1 year clinical with research opportunities
  • Admission open to those satisfactorily completing an accredited plastic surgery residency program or other appropriately qualified surgeons

Description of Fellowship

  • In-depth and comprehensive "mentorship" experience with the preoperative evaluation, treatment planning, operative treatment, and postoperative management of patients with breast and body contour deformities.
  • Full day a week involvement with a interdisciplinary weight loss team, with formal exposure to team members and their respective roles.
  • Weekly outpatient clinic experience in the preoperative evaluation and postoperative management of breast and body contour patients.
  • Formal weekly conference to review assigned readings in core curriculum topics relating to plastic surgery topics.

Clinical Goals and Objectives

  • To experience a broad education in the art and science of body contouring surgery
  • To experience progressive senior surgical responsibility in the essential phases of patient care: preoperative evaluation, therapeutic decision making, operative experience, and postoperative management
  • Participate in a multidisciplinary integrated weight loss team
  • Gain experience in the surgical correction of body contour and breast deformities

Didactic Goals and Objectives

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the changes in body habitus that accompany weight gain and weight loss
  • Demonstrate ability to design, plan, and execute advanced body contouring operations
  • Understand the nutritional and physiologic changes that accompany gastric bypass surgery, and how these factors influence surgical decision making
  • Understand issues of patient selection and safety in body contouring surgery
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of subcutaneous tissues throughout the body, with an emphasis an regional blood supply

Research Opportunities

While at least one clinical research project leading to presentation and publication is expected during the fellowship year, significant basic and applied basic science research opportunities are available.

The Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh

The Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory is directed by Kacey G. Marra, PhD, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering and Faculty of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. This laboratory conducts scientific investigation in multiple interdisciplinary areas.

The scope of projects revolves around the two future avenues of tissue reconstruction: transplantation and tissue engineering. Modalities are investigated to manipulate the immune system in order to achieve transplantation of composite tissue allografts. Novel biomaterials are being designed for skin, bone, and nerve regeneration, with a strong focus on polymeric materials, both native and synthetic.

This laboratory isolates preadipocytes from human adipose tissue, and is exploring applications of these adult stem cells in soft tissue reconstruction. Of recent interest is the differentiation of preadipocytes into adipocytes, neural progenitor cells, and osteoblasts for tissue engineering applications.

Application Process

Applications for the Body Contouring Fellowship will be accepted between June 1 – October 30 of each year for the fellowship beginning the following academic year. This is a non-accredited fellowship, therefore, you are not required to participate in the match.

Please submit the following information with your application packet:

Completed Body Contouring Fellowship Application (PDF)

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of USMLE Step I, II and III Scores
  • Personal Statement
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one from your program director

You may mail your completed Body Contouring Fellowship Application materials to:

Barbara Chakurda
Body Contouring Fellowship Coordinator
3380 Boulevard of the Allies
Suite 180
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office: 412-641-3723
Fax: 412-641-1149

If you have any questions or require additional information regarding the fellowship, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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