Careers in plastic surgery

Plastic surgery is still a relatively small specialty. However, the number of consultant posts has doubled in the last twenty years and it has become an integral part of hospital practice.

This rise is expected to continue as demand grows for plastic surgeon’s specialist skills, which in turn will open up additional training posts in the future.

This section contains information on the training pathway and examinations for plastic surgery. Information on academic careers in plastic surgery is also available in the research section

Plastic surgery advantages


•  Extremely rewarding, surgeons have the ability to transform people’s life
•  Varied caseload, surgery is not limited to any one age group or anatomical site
•  Fast-moving and advanced, surgeons use the latest technology and techniques
•  A range of sub-specialities so most surgeons can carve out a niche 
•  Opportunities to work all over the world
•  Opportunity to generate separate income through private practice

Plastic surgery disadvantages


•  Very competitive, there may be other medical pathways that are easier to follow
•  Limited funding, some trainees will need to pay for additional education courses themselves, which can be costly

There are plastic surgery training programmes in all the English regions as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Outside the UK, British trainees are also welcomed for training by units in Ireland. 

BAPRAS host regular courses for medical students about careers in plastic surgery. For more details on our events and those organised by others, go to the course listings