Q&A: Brianne Sullivan, Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery Fellow


Plastics and Reconstructive surgery fellow

Brianne Sullivan


photo of brianne sullivan


Q: What made you consider UF for your fellowship training?

A: It was multi-factorial. One reason that really appealed to me, however, was that I actually prefer smaller programs, and UF is smaller on the plastic surgery side. They train one person per year. I was looking for an environment that would provide me with dedicated, one-on-one time with the faculty. And it’s a mentorship model, so you rotate with one or two attending for two months at a time. Based upon my previous general surgery training and the way I felt I would learn best, I thought that was a really good model to make the most of my time in training.

Q: What made you want to specialize into plastics?

A. I really enjoyed my general surgery training, but didn’t find any one particular part of it that called to me. So I started to look into different specialties that I wasn’t getting much exposure to, and I also realized that a lot of the things in general surgery revolved around taking things out, like faulty organs, or removing tumors and tissue. Plastic surgery appealed to me because it centered around rebuilding something, and once I saw that, I realized that was what I wanted to do. It was what motivated me the most. So I switched gears and applied for a fellowship.

Q: What are some key moments you that have stood out to you during your fellowship training thus far?

A: It’s never just one thing. For me, I think the reconstructive aspect of it continues to amaze me — some truly simple things can truly change a person’s quality of life. We have patients who undergo bariatric surgery or make significant lifestyle changes, put in a lot of work, and occasionally there can be some extra skin that stays behind. A simple procedure of removing that skin can be life-changing, we have people say. Sometimes patients are tearful even upon waking up from the procedure, even though they can’t see anything yet — they can feel the difference. Seeing them happy is unlike anything else. It’s wonderful to be able to provide that sort of change and impact for someone, and to make a different in their life in that way.

Q: Do you have any advice for future plastics fellows, or those just beginning their journey?

A: I wouldn’t change a thing. I didn’t have a lot of exposure to plastics, or really know what it entailed until I sought it out during my general surgery training. So I would say that if you are not feeling like you’re finding what speaks to you, or what you feel your passion will be, or what feels like a good fit, to take it upon yourself to expand your horizons. Keep looking and hone in on those elements of surgery that you really, really like. You’re going to find that fit somewhere. For me, that was branching out and obtaining exposure to a field that was new to me. And I’m very happy with it. I’m grateful that I found it.