INTRODUCTION: Plastic surgery subspecialty fellowships are highly competitive. Academic productivity is an objective metric that can be used to compare candidates. This study aims to evaluate intersubspecialty differences in academic profiles of plastic surgery fellows. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the plastic surgery fellows in the United States from 2015 to 2019. We used the San Francisco Match website and individual program websites to obtain details of fellowship programs (microsurgery, aesthetic, hand, and craniofacial) and plastic surgery fellows. Bibliometric data at the time of fellowship application were obtained for each fellow. RESULTS: A total of 235 fellows were included. There was a significant difference in the median number of publications (P = 0.0067) and h-index (P = 0.0229) across subspecialties. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that dedicated research time was predictive for a high publication count (odds ratio [OR], 3.59; P = 0.0007) and h-index (OR, 4.88; P < 0.0001) at the time of fellowship application. Although international residency and aesthetic fellowship application were predictive of a reduced number of publications (OR, 0.17; P < 0.0001, and OR, 0.43; P = 0.0190, respectively), H-index was increased by possession of an advanced degree (OR, 2.00; P = 0.0291) and decreased with international residency (OR, 0.26, P = 0.0021). CONCLUSIONS: All plastic surgery fellows have highly qualified academic profiles at the time of fellowship application. Academic productivity differs between subspecialty fellowships. Those wishing to match into competitive subspecialties should consider taking dedicated time for research or attaining an advanced degree.
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