Should I give up on orthopedics?

5 years 3 months ago #36514 by surgeon1
(First paragraph is background; if you're in a hurry or don't care skip to the second paragraph) I've wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon since high school. I finished high school in the Middle East because of my dad's job. Wanting to stay close to family, pay a lot less money, and finish school sooner, I went to a medical school in the region right out of high school even though I got accepted to University of California schools (my home state) for undergrad. I'm the first doctor in my family and didn't have anyone to tell me what going to a foreign medical school would put me up against. It wasn't until I was in my third year (foreign medical school programs are usually 5 or 6 years; this was is 6) that it started to become clear. Once I graduated and did a year-long rotating internship at my university's hospital I've basically been working jobs (some medical some not) to pay the bills and for ERAS applications.

After graduating from a foreign medical school in 2014, I'm finally in a position where it looks like I'll match this year. I've been doing research at a big academic general surgical residency program, have a bunch of publications, several letters of recommendation from faculty, and scored 255, 260, and 227 on the steps. I've interviewed at 6 programs this year for preliminary and categorical general surgery. There is a reasonable chance I'll match into preliminary general surgery (I applied to preliminary too just in case that'll be easier to get into). In the event that I match into preliminary surgery, I'll be going through the match again for categorical surgery. If that is the case, does anyone on this forum see any remotely conceivable path to getting into ortho with a year of surgical residency experience added to my CV? I've pretty much come to terms with a future in general surgery, but I just thought I'd ask this forum if there is even a shred of hope worth spending time and money on (applications, audition electives, etc) to get into an ortho residency if I hopefully perform spectacularly in a preliminary PGY-1 year. I've been reading ABSITE review books, teaching medical students, and doing procedures for animal studies long enough that I know I'm just about as prepared for surgical residency as I ever could have been and think performing well should be very doable. I know I'm extremely lucky to even be getting into surgery at all at this point, but your dream is your dream. I've already given up so much and put my life on hold for so long for refusing to give up on being a surgeon that I have to ask if it's possible.

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