Archive for July, 2010:

Career Satisfaction of American Plastic Surgeons: ASPS Survey

A new study conducted by plastic surgeons from the University of Michigan has been published online (ahead of print) in the ASPS journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The article includes survey data about career satisfaction among American plastic surgeons. Information that could be considered valuable for medical students, doctors and patients

Previous studies found a link between high quality care and the doctor’s satisfaction in his or her job. With plastic surgeons, the survey results provide a picture of the general health of this profession in America and how that might affect the care you receive.

A survey was mailed to 708 doctors who are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, half of them male and the other half female. The inquiry posed several questions about career satisfaction such as:

  • Was a career in plastic surgery the right choice?
  • Would you choose this career again if you had to do it over again?

Other questions inquired about income, switching specialties and retiring early. The results are very positive, i.e. it appears that plastic surgery is a generally satisfying career in the United States. 93 percent of respondents said it was the right career choice and 78 percent said they would make the choice again if they had to. Only a small percentage said they regretted the choice to become a plastic surgeon.

The most interesting outcomes of the survey were 1) the data regarding differences in satisfaction between surgeons who are “intellectually isolated” and those who are actively involved with their colleagues, and 2) the difference in satisfaction between surgeons who are focused primarily on reconstructive surgery and those who “balanced” their focus between reconstructive and cosmetic operations.

The study is published online ahead of print and you can access it through the journal’s website.


Satisfaction with Career Choice among U.S. Plastic Surgeons: Results from a National Survey. Streu, Rachel; Hawley, Sarah; Gay, Ashley; Salem, Barbara; Abrahamse, Paul; Alderman, Amy K . Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.

Archive for July, 2010:

Career Satisfaction of American Plastic Surgeons: ASPS Survey

Plastic surgeons frequently watch for symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in their prospective patients. Characterized by abnormal preoccupation with self-perceived appearance defects, BDD can be a distressing condition and contraindication for cosmetic surgery.

A recent study published in Psychiatry Research provides the most recent update on the prevalence of BDD, examining the population demographics that are most affected and the tendency of those affected to seek cosmetic surgery. 2,510 German people were analyzed in the research study, and 45 of them were showed symptoms of BDD. Symptoms (or inclusion criteria) included the following:

  • Preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance
  • Concern is markedly excessive
  • Causes clinically significant distress / impairment in function

Of those 45 people experiencing the above symptoms, 7 of them had undergone cosmetic surgery.

As a general rule, cosmetic surgeons do not operate on patients who have this disorder — for many reasons, including the high chance for the patient to be dissatisfied with the results. However, patients do not always report symptoms of BDD to their cosmetic surgeon. They may be embarrassed about it or they may be unaware that such behavior (preoccupation with a perceived appearance defect) is abnormal. Subjects in the study showed an intense, frequent preoccupation and dislike of body parts such as the ears, nose, stomach, hips, buttocks, skin and breasts.

The disorder poses a significant threat to one’s health. Aside from being a general hindrance, BDD is linked to increased thoughts about suicide and suicide attempts. Therefore, as authors of the study suggest, awareness of body dysmorphic disorder should continue to increase and careful screening by healthcare providers should be initiated to help people suffering from it. A disorder like BDD also reinforces the need for cosmetic surgery patients to be completely open and honest about their reasons for seeking surgery and their medical history.

You can access this study, “Updates on the prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder: A population-based survey” through Elsevier Journals or Science Direct.


Archive for July, 2010:

Career Satisfaction of American Plastic Surgeons: ASPS Survey



Photo via Coastal Empire Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgeons often have the option to perform surgery at an ambulatory surgery center or in a hospital setting. While either accredited facility is considered safe, there may be notable differences in the efficiency of each setting. Results of a new study published in the American Journal of Surgery showed that total facility time and the time intervals involved with surgery are longer in the hospital setting.

Authors of the study had the opportunity to compare both surgical facilities as their breast operations were moved from an ambulatory surgery center to a hospital. The records of 92 hospital patients and 92 ASC patients were retrospectively analyzed to compare time intervals and other information.

Time intervals for surgical care were measured and reviewed by the authors and they found that on average, total facility time was 69 minutes shorter in the ambulatory surgery center. Most significant was the 55-minute difference in the preoperative time period – “the time from the entrance into the holding area to entrance into the operating room.”

Based on the findings, they argue that outpatient surgery is more efficient when performed at a dedicated outpatient center. Also, if the time saving practices used at the surgery center are incorporated at the hospital, it could increase efficiency in that setting.

Read more from “Outpatient surgery performed in an ambulatory surgery center versus a hospital: comparison of perioperative time intervals” The American Journal of Surgery (2010) 200, 64 – 67


Archive for July, 2010:

Career Satisfaction of American Plastic Surgeons: ASPS Survey

Read the “viewpoints” section of the latest Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal and you can find a short study article about the quality of medical information – specifically on melanoma – that is currently available on

Researchers for the study analyzed 100 relevant videos about melanoma to determine their origin, the nature of their production and the quality of their content.

Why is this information relevant? Because right now, prospective patients of any physician are researching their condition or procedure of interest online. One study cited found that “39 percent of patients with melanoma used the Internet to research their disease.” If doctors know how their patients behave online, they could possibly adjust their care practices and communication tools.

In this study, the majority of the relevant videos about melanoma were uploaded by reputable sources such as “medical professionals, institutions, news broadcasters, government or non-profit organizations.” Other videos however, offered information that was misleading and possibly false. “Two clips” they write, were “showing patients testifying cure of melanoma from alternative therapies with no scientific basis.”

Does this imply that video hosting sites like youtube should be censored or regulated when providing medical information? With so many excellent online resources offering accurate information, it’s unlikely that anyone would argue such a position. A more convincing argument would be for more open access to authoritative sources.

Read the study titled “The Availability and Content Analysis of Melanoma Information on Youtube.” in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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