OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of medical students regarding facial aesthetic surgery and those specialists most likely to perform aesthetic or reconstructive facial surgery. METHODS: A survey was designed based on a review of the literature to assess the desirable characteristics and the perceived role of the facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon (FPRS). The surveys were distributed to 2 populations: medical students from 4 medical schools and members of the general public. RESULTS: A total of 339 surveys were collected, 217 from medical students and 122 from the general public. Medical students and the public had similar responses. The results demonstrated that respondents preferred a male plastic surgeon from the ages of 41 to 50 years old and would look to their family doctor for a recommendation. Facial aesthetic and reconstructive surgery was considered the domain of maxillofacial and general plastic surgeons, not the FPRS. CONCLUSION: Integration of the FPRS into the medical school curriculum may help to improve the perceived role of the specialty within the medical community. It is important for the specialty to communicate to aspiring physicians the dedicated training of an otolaryngologist specializing in FPRS.
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