Welcome from the Program Director

At the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency, we strive to provide broad-based, practical training across the entire spectrum of plastic surgery with the primary goal of producing competent and ethical plastic surgeons with superior operative skills. The program emphasizes the importance of excellence in medical knowledge, provides exposure to cutting-edge research, and focuses on teaching exceptional operative technique in order to prepare our residents to be successful in any career path they choose including advanced fellowship training, a career in academic plastic surgery, or confidently proceeding directly into private practice.

I am proud of the camaraderie and supportive atmosphere of our training program as well as the emphasis on early operative experience in plastic surgery. Finding a good fit for six years of residency training can be a difficult process and I encourage you to ask as many questions as possible of me, the faculty, and, most importantly, our current residents.

Thank you for your interest in our program and congratulations on choosing to pursue a career in the exceptional and rewarding specialty of plastic and reconstructive surgery!

Ashley Pistorio, MD

What Makes Our Program Unique?

  • University Medical Center (UMC), Nevada’s only Level I Trauma Center
  • UMC treats patients from all over the Southwest and California, plus visitors from around the world
  • Exposure to academic and private aspects of plastic surgery

  • Dedicated, didactic time every Tuesday morning with faculty
  • Weekly lectures based on Neligan’s Plastic Surgery 6th-Volume text
  • Guest lecturers from across the globe

  • 13 months of plastic surgery experience during the first three years of residency
  • Senior resident rotations consist of three-month blocks within each subspecialty in plastic surgery
  • Three months of elective time chief year
  • Resident cosmetic clinic staffed by full-time faculty member

  • Five full-time plastic surgery faculty with specialization in areas of hand surgery, microsurgery, breast reconstruction, craniofacial, and general reconstruction and aesthetic surgery
  • Numerous clinical faculty and dedicated rotations with community private practice physicians, as well as Nellis Air Force Base plastic surgeons

  • Previous graduates now have careers in academic and private practice
  • Former residents of the program have completed fellowships in microsurgery, craniofacial, oculoplastics, aesthetics, hand, and pediatric plastic surgery

  • Affordable cost of living
  • No state income tax
  • World-class entertainment
  • Beautiful weather and an abundance of outdoor activities



Residents are expected to acquire fundamental skills in the diagnosis of surgical diseases and the establishment of therapeutic plans. Residents will function as a junior resident on multiple services and in this capacity will frequently perform admission history and physical examinations. These experiences will help the resident to develop the capacity to diagnose surgical illnesses and begin to formulate diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Procedurally, the residents are expected to become facile in the performance of several procedures. Specific documentation of supervised training in placement of chest tubes, insertion of central venous catheters, endotracheal intubation, conscious sedation, and placement of Swan-Ganz catheters is required and must be documented on the provided forms. In addition, the resident is expected to begin to develop a knowledge of anatomy in the operating room and to develop polished skills in the areas of suturing, knot tying, and performance of minor surgical procedures.


Year two is an extension of the first year in terms of goals and responsibilities. Residents are likely to serve as junior residents on one of the multiple services and will continue to do the majority of admission history and physical examinations. The goal is for the resident to develop sophisticated capabilities in the realms of surgical diagnosis and planning of therapy. At this level, the resident is also expected to begin to develop and demonstrate competency in more sophisticated areas of patient management, such as in the intensive care unit.

Procedurally, the resident is expected to become increasingly facile in the operating room with instrument technique, including sewing and knot tying. At this level, the resident is frequently allowed to perform moderately advanced surgical procedures under supervision, but the principal goal for this year is developing skills in patient care rather than operative technique.


In many ways, this is the most challenging year of the residency as the resident progresses from a junior resident to senior resident status. Although rarely the most senior resident on any service, the year three resident is frequently exposed to significant responsibility on the different services.

At this level, the resident is expected to develop the capability of appropriately focusing diagnostic and therapeutic strategies and to develop skills as an independent patient care-giver. In addition, at the procedural level, the resident will be expected to develop competence in planning and carrying out routine surgical procedures including but not limited to such operations as cholecystectomy, inguinal herniorrhaphy, and similar operations.


This year initiates the transition of focusing in on the resident’s chosen specialty of plastic and reconstructive surgery. During this year, the resident is able to gain an in-depth knowledge of basic science and clinical research in order to critically evaluate and apply the relevant literature to the practice of plastic surgery. There is also an extensive exposure to basic microsurgical skills in the laboratory initially, followed by an extended experience in clinical reconstructive microsurgery allowing the resident to gain progressive skills and experience in managing these complex patients prior to the senior years.

This year also incorporates subspecialty training in areas specifically applicable to plastic surgery including ophthalmology, dermatology, and oral/maxillofacial surgery. By the end of this year, the resident should have a good grasp of the wide scope of problems evaluated and managed by the plastic surgeon be well versed in the team approach to patient management.


At this level, the resident is expected to develop the ability to independently diagnose, to order appropriate diagnostic studies, and to formulate differential diagnosis and treatment plans for plastic surgery patients. By the end of the year the resident should be fully competent in independent management of routine plastic surgery patients in terms of diagnosis and patient management. By the end of the year, the plastic surgery resident should also be capable of performing many plastic surgery procedures with minimal assistance and guidance and should be judged ready to continue on to fifth year where more complex and advanced plastic surgical procedures are performed.


During this year the resident is given the responsibility of being the Chief Resident. This will include supervising the junior plastic surgery resident, overseeing the UMC Burn Clinic on Wednesday, organizing the schedule, and developing skills to operate and manage patients independently. This year will allow the resident to master all aspects of plastic surgery and gain the confidence to become an independent plastic surgeon. This will be performed under faculty supervision. The resident will also master all challenges of postoperative care.

It is mandatory for the resident to satisfactorily complete all requirements of the American Board of Plastic Surgery for admission to the Certifying Examination. The American Board of Plastic Surgery publishes these requirements.

Resident Life

Why Come to Las Vegas for Residency?

Welcome to Las Vegas! Many people equate Las Vegas with "Sin City," nightlife, bars, restaurants, and gambling. And certainly, this is woven into the fabric of our city. However, Las Vegas has so much more to offer than the Strip. Certainly, if urban life and entertainment suit you, then the Strip is right at your fingertips! But with the Sierra Nevada Mountains flanking the city, hiking, climbing, even skiing and snowboarding are available, as well as easy access to amazing outdoor activities in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and California. There is something for everyone. One of the busiest international airports in the U.S. happens to be nestled in the heart of the city, allowing easy access for you to go anywhere you desire, domestic or international. No need to visit home; your family and friends will be waiting in line to come visit you in your new home in Fabulous Las Vegas!

Life After Residency

Congratulations to the graduates of the only plastic surgery residency in Nevada! We are so proud of all of the graduates and are confident in their abilities to improve healthcare in Nevada and elsewhere. We wish our former residents the best in their future endeavors.

  • Maxwell Vest, MD — Hand Surgery Fellowship at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, VA

  • Scott Ogley, MD — Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship at Aesthetic Center for Plastic Surgery, Houston, TX

  • Shawna Kleban, MD — Cosmetic Fellowship at Hunstad/Kortesis/Bharti Cosmetic Center, Huntersville, NC

  • Ashish Francis, MD — Pediatric, Plastic, and Craniofacial Fellowship in Austin, TX

  • Joshua Goldman, MD — Integrated Craniomaxillofacial and Microsurgery Fellowship in Royal Oak, MI

How to Apply

  • Apply online via the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). To receive an application, please contact your dean’s office. After you have completed the application, return it to your dean’s office, where it will be loaded into a secure workstation.
  • Your file will be reviewed by members of the residency selection committee once the following items have been received via ERAS:
    • ERAS application
    • Medical school transcript
    • Dean’s letter
    • Three letters of recommendation (at least one from surgery chair)
    • United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) II (if available)
  • Applicants wishing to arrange four-week clinical rotations/clerkships should contact the clerkship coordinator at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV by email at ageda.torressanchez@unlv.edu.