Dismissing the myths: An analysis of 12,483 procedures. All in a years work for a plastic surgical unit
L Mason, I Whitaker, D Boyce
L Mason, I Whitaker, D Boyce. Dismissing the myths: An analysis of 12,483 procedures. All in a years work for a plastic surgical unit. The Internet Journal of World Health and Societal Politics. 2008 Volume 6 Number 2.
Plastic surgery is undoubtedly a complex speciality, with a unique diversity. Procedures often transcend the anatomic boundaries which define and limit other specialities. This versatility promotes innovation, but it comes at a cost. Members of the public have very construed ideas of the plastic surgeon, and this is not bettered a great deal by professional colleagues and policy makers. We review a year’s work in a busy plastic surgical department to quell these myths.
Despite the popular misconception, the word plastic in plastic surgery does not mean artificial, but is derived from the ancient Greek work
Plastic surgery is undoubtedly a complex speciality, with a unique diversity. Procedures often transcend the anatomic boundaries which define and limit other specialities. This versatility promotes innovation, but it comes at a cost. Members of the public have very construed ideas of the plastic surgeon1, and this is not bettered a great deal by professional colleagues2 and policy makers. With the recent interest in plastic surgery amongst the media and internet, portraying plastic surgeons as ‘aestheticians’ and ‘on the fringe of medicine’, we review our year’s work in a busy regional plastic surgery unit.
All procedures carried out in our department are logged into a computer database (ORAC®). The computer records of
Over the 12 month period, the unit performed 12,483 procedures. Only 267 (2.1%) were for purely ‘aesthetic’ reasons. The majority, 7193 procedures (58%), were involved in wound management (wound debridement, wound exploration and skin grafting etc). A significant proportion of the plastic surgery workload was involved with hand surgery (2172 procedures, 17%) and cancer surgery (2417 procedures, 19%). Burn surgery does not reflect the true input of the burns department, as many treatments are conservative or critical care based. Common procedures performed in regards to hand surgery were congenital hands, Dupuytrens procedures, Rheumatoid arthritis procedures, hand trauma (e.g. tendon repairs, digital nerve repairs, replantations, and nail bed repairs), nerve repairs and nerve grafting. These results are summarised in table 1 and graph 1.
These results prove that in stark contrast to current perceptions, plastic surgeons are innovative and highly skilled surgeons with a wide diversity of workload, and whom rarely operate for purely ‘aesthetic’ reasons. Plastic surgery has a high media profile but ironically the public are poorly informed about the role plastic surgeons play in some core areas of the speciality including hand surgery and the treatment of neoplasia1.
As plastic surgeons we feel it is to our benefit to make ourselves available to colleagues for advice and referrals to disseminate the remit of our speciality and involve ourselves in vocational, undergraduate and postgraduate training schemes. We endeavour to make medical colleagues better able to match the needs of their patients to the skills of the appropriate specialist.
Mr Lyndon Mason 2 Pantbach Avenue, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, CF14 1UR Email – firstname.lastname@example.org Fax - 01685385080 Telephone - 07947038874