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Author Notes:

Anjali Om, BA, Emory University School of Medicine, 100 Woodruff Circle, Atlanta, GA 30322, E-mail: anjali.om@emory.edu

The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.



  • COVID-19
  • geographic disparities
  • plastic surgery
  • patient cancellation

Effect of COVID-19 on Geographic Distribution of the Integrated Plastic Surgery Match


Journal Title:

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open


Volume 9, Number 6


, Pages e3676-e3676

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Background: COVID-19 had significant impact on the 2021 integrated plastic surgery match, most notably through cancellation of away rotations and virtual interviews. While previous studies have analyzed geographic outcomes of the match in prior years, the effects of COVID-19 have not been determined. This study aims to contribute 2021 match data to determine the effects of COVID-19 on the geographic distribution of the integrated plastic surgery match. Methods: Official match results for each program were populated by searching official program institutional websites and social media pages. Trainees' home medical institutions and current integrated plastic surgery residency programs were noted. Statistical analysis compared geographic distribution in COVID-19 affected (2021) and non-COVID-19 affected (2015-2020) match years. Results: Of 85 integrated plastic surgery programs, 80% (n = 68) of programs and 1,015 matched trainees were included in this study. The average percentage of institutional matches in COVID-19-affected match year was 25.12%, compared to 16.67% for non-COVID-19-affected match years (p = 0.0012). The odds ratio of matching at a home institution in 2021 compared to prior years was 1.68 (95% CI 1.11-2.53). Conclusions: Our study is consistent with previous studies that demonstrate strong match preferences for affiliated medical students but also adds that this trend may be amplified in the post-COVID-19 era. While multiple factors may be involved in geographic distributions of residency match outcomes, the results of this study suggest that COVID-19 restrictions on travel and exposure to outside programs may have contributed to an even higher percentage of matches within the same institution.

Copyright information:

© 2021 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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