How to Attract Our Future? - Perception of Plastic Surgery Among Medical Students

Published:August 23, 2022DOI:



      There is a mounting body of evidence that underscores the worldwide and US national need for increased plastic surgery recruitment of trainees. Thus, plastic surgery must attract more applicants while maintaining the high-level qualifications of residency candidates.


      Two hundred and fifty (w = 197) medical students rated the prototypical plastic surgeon (PS), general practitioner (GP) and craniomaxillofacial surgeon (CMF) with respect to traits derived from a literature review on general perception of surgery, favorability, and their intention to pursue a respective career.


      Factor analysis yielded two overarching dimensions of prototype perception in addition to femininity and resilience, one reflecting a coldhearted, narcissistic, competitive character (status primacy; SP) and one reflecting role-model-like traits (hard-working, healthy, admired & empathetic). Prototypical PSs scored significantly higher on SP than GPs (t(249) = 18.72, p < 0.001, d = 1.26) and CMFs (t(249) = 5.73, p < 0.001, d = 0.36), while receiving significantly less positive evaluations (GP: t(249) = -9.93, p < 0.001, d = -0.63; CMF: t(249) = -3.52, p < 0.001, d = -0.22). The higher participants rated PSs on SP, the more likely a career in plastic surgery was excluded (OR = 0.71, p = 0.03). An opposite relationship with femininity approached significance (OR = 1.32, p = 0.06).


      Given the growing need for plastic surgeons, worldwide and US national task fields have to overcome the outdated traits and highlight the field's pro-bono engagement. Furthermore, plastic surgery should further expand its leading role in promoting female trainees.


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