D.O. surgeons?

It is well known that surgery is one of the most competitve specialities out there. I was wondering how competitive D.O.s are in obtaining general surgery residencies. Is it realistic to think that I could go to an Osteopathic school and become a surgeon?
Thanks for your replies,

While surgery may be a competitive residency, there are a good number of osteopathic graduates who go into the field. I just finished my surgery rotation with a really good osteopathic general surgeon. He did his residency in Florida. I think I can safely say that as long as you do well in your education and show an aptitude and prowess for the field, you should be able to become a surgeon if that is your choice whether you graduate osteopathic or allopathic. But, like others have already said, don’t limit yourself by making your decision before you have even begun medical school and rotations. You might be surprised at how your rotations can influence your final choice.

There are several DO surgeons around here. Most DOs go into a primary care specialty by choice, not by necessity. However, the DO philosophy emphasizes at least a basic knowledge in surgery for all physicians.

When I interviewed at DMU-COM this past Fall, they took us all on a tour of the school’s surgical skills lab. In the OMS2 curriculum at DMU, they have a class that teaches you , hands-on, all of the OR basics (proper scrub techniques, sterile fields, sutures, etc.). The feedback that many of the OMS3 students have is that they are better prepared for surgical rotations. I don’t know if it’s true, but I was impressed.
Best bet? Go to some DO school websites and see if you can get some match lists for the last couple of years.

Hi there,
There are plenty of very good DO general surgery residencies out there and there are plenty of fine DO graduates who are doing allopathic residencies. Just as in allopathic medical schools, you need to have good grades in osteopathic medical school to do surgery and any of the surgical subspecialties.
Osteopathic medical schools have residencies in every specialty and attending osteopathic medical school does not alter what options are open to you. If anything, osteopathic residencies are NOT open to allopathic grads so you have the option of both osteopathic and allopathic residency as an osteopathic grad.
I have worked with DO surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, ENT surgeons etc. There is no difference in their practice and the practice of their allopathic counterparts.
If you want to do surgery, DO or MD can get you there.

As a general rules - despite what you may hear on other pre-med/med student websites or in your pre-med club or from some well-intentioned pre-med advisor: the following phrase holds true.
There is no physician specialty or subspecialty ope to MDs that is not open to DOs.
You will hear tales of:
1 - derm is off limits - 2 of my classmates went into MD-derm programs & another 2 into DO-derm.
2 - Gen Surg is off limits - tons of DOs in both DO & MD GS programs
3 - DOs can’t do ortho - good number of DO ortho programs & DOs match into MD ortho; the Chair of Ortho Surg at Dartmouth is a DO
4 - Anesthesia has become so competitive that DOs can no longer get in - my class alone matched ~17 into MD anesth, I am going to a resident interview dinner tonight of which 1 of 4 is a DO to be & Dartmouth anesth ain’t easy to match into.
Suffice it to say - if an MD can get into it, so can a DO.


3 - DOs can’t do ortho - good number of DO ortho programs & DOs match into MD ortho; the Chair of Ortho Surg at Dartmouth is a DO

IMO, that is the funniest DO myth if you think about it.