Plastic surgery has a glamorous reputation, a heady mixture of reconstruction cases in cleft children and burn victims and a potential for cosmetic private practice replete with facelifts, breast augmentations and body contouring. The application process reflects this competition, and candidates are accepted across a range of years post qualification with a variety of experience but with a recognised potential for training. There are two rounds of applications per year, spring and autumn. The application form opens for a period of 4 weeks towards the middle of February and in mid-August; interviews have recently been in May and October but there are plans to push these earlier in the year. There are usually about 150–200 applicants or national training numbers (NTNs) and locum appointment for training (LAT) posts in the spring and slightly fewer in the autumn round. The available NTNs and LAT posts are listed by deanery and asked to rank them in order of preference.