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ABSTRACT: The great breadth of the specialty of plastic surgery is often misunderstood by practitioners in other specialties and by the public at large. The authors investigate the perceptions of primary care physicians in training toward the practice of different areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery.
A short, anonymous, Web-based survey was administered to residents of internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics training programs in the United States. Respondents were asked to choose the specialist they perceived to be an expert for six specific clinical areas, including eyelid surgery, cleft lip and palate surgery, facial fractures, hand surgery, rhinoplasty, and skin cancer of the face. Specialists for selection included the following choices: dermatologist, general surgeon, ophthalmologist, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, otolaryngologist, and plastic surgeon.
A total of 1020 usable survey responses were collected. Respondents believed the following specialists were experts for eyelid surgery (plastic surgeon, 70 percent; ophthalmologist, 59 percent; oral and maxillofacial surgeon, 15 percent; dermatologist, 5 percent; and otolaryngologist, 5 percent); cleft lip and palate surgery (oral and maxillofacial surgeon, 78 percent; plastic surgeon, 57 percent; and otolaryngologist, 36 percent); facial fractures (oral and maxillofacial surgeon, 88 percent; plastic surgeon, 36 percent; otolaryngologist, 30 percent; orthopedic surgeon, 11 percent; general surgeon, 3 percent; and ophthalmologist, 2 percent); hand surgery (orthopedic surgeon, 76 percent; plastic surgeon, 52 percent; and general surgeon, 7 percent); rhinoplasty (plastic surgeon, 76 percent; otolaryngologist, 45 percent; and oral and maxillofacial surgeon, 18 percent); and skin cancer of the face (dermatologist, 89 percent; plastic surgeon, 35 percent; oral and maxillofacial surgeon, 9 percent; otolaryngologist, 8 percent; and general surgeon, 7 percent).
As the field of plastic surgery and other areas of medicine continue to evolve, additional education of internal medicine, pediatrics, and family practice physicians and trainees in the scope of plastic surgery practice will be critical.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 04/2010; 126(2):643-50. · 3.33 Impact Factor