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Factors Influencing Patient Interest in Plastic Surgery and the Process of Selecting a Surgeon

Charles Galanis MD, Ivan S. Sanchez BS, Jason Roostaeian MD, Christopher Crisera MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1090820X13481228 585-590 First published online: 1 May 2013


Background: Understanding patient interest in cosmetic surgery is an important tool in delineating the current market for aesthetic surgeons. Similarly, defining those factors that most influence surgeon selection is vital for optimizing marketing strategies.

Objective: The authors evaluate a general population sample's interest in cosmetic surgery and investigate which factors patients value when selecting their surgeon.

Methods: An anonymous questionnaire was distributed to 96 individuals in waiting rooms in nonsurgical clinics. Respondents were questioned on their ability to differentiate between a “plastic” surgeon and a “cosmetic” surgeon, their interest in having plastic surgery, and factors affecting surgeon and practice selection. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to define any significant correlative relationships.

Results: Respondents consisted of 15 men and 81 women. Median age was 34.5 (range, 18–67) years. Overall, 20% were currently considering plastic surgery and 78% stated they would consider it in the future. The most common area of interest was a procedure for the face. The most important factors in selecting a surgeon were surgeon reputation and board certification. The least important were quality of advertising and surgeon age. The most cited factor preventing individuals from pursuing plastic surgery was fear of a poor result. Most (60%) patients would choose a private surgicenter-based practice.

Conclusions: The level of importance for each studied attribute can help plastic surgeons understand the market for cosmetic surgery as well as what patients look for when selecting their surgeon. This study helps to define those attributes in a sample population.

  • patient interest
  • surgeon selection
  • influence
  • plastic surgery
  • aesthetic surgery
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