Professional burnout among US plastic surgeons: Results of a national survey

Rachel Streu, Juliana Hansen, Paul Abrahamse, Amy K. Alderman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    27 Scopus citations


    Purpose: Little is known about professional burnout among plastic surgeons. Our purpose is to describe its prevalence among a large national sample of plastic surgeons and identify contributing factors. Methods: A mailed, self-administered survey was sent to 708 plastic surgeons who were randomly sampled from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons national membership (71% response rate). The dependent variable was professional burnout, measured by 3 subscales from the validated Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey. ''High'' scores in either the emotional exhaustion or depersonalization subscale categories predict professional burnout. The independent variables included surgeon sociodemographic and professional characteristics. W2 was used for the bivariate analyses. Results: Nearly one third (29%) of surgeons scored high in subscale categories predictive of professional burnout. Factors associated with high emotional exhaustion scores included surgeon age, 40-50 years (P = 0.03); fair/poor physician health (P < 0.01); ER call (P < 0.01); >60 work hours per week (P = 0.03); primarily reconstructive practice (P < 0.01); private practice (P = 0.01); and group practice (P = 0.02). Factors associated with high depersonalization scores included fair/poor physician health (P= 0.01); ER call (P < 0.01); private practice (P = 0.01); and group practice (P = 0.02). Conclusions: Nearly one third of plastic surgeons have signs of professional burnout. Middle-aged surgeons and those in poor health are most at risk; along with those who have a reconstructive rather than cosmetic practice, long work hours, ER call responsibility, a nonacademic setting. and group as compared to solo practice. These data have important implications for future workforce shortages and health care quality.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)346-350
    Number of pages5
    JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2014



    • Burnout
    • Career
    • Job satisfaction
    • Plastic surgeon
    • Work-life balance

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery

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