AAPS, American Association of Plastic Surgeons
AAPS, American Association of Plastic Surgeons
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2008 Annual Meeting Abstracts

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Plastic Surgeons Who Perform Aesthetic Surgery on Spouses or Other Family Members
Sara Slavin, B.A.1, Sumner A. Slavin, MD2, Robert M. Goldwyn, M.D.2.
1Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Purpose
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether plastic surgeons would perform elective cosmetic surgery on spouses or other family members. It sought also to determine how many plastic surgeons already have performed cosmetic procedures on family members, the type of procedures, the circumstances under which the surgery took place, and the results.
Materials and Methods
Participants were 465 members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, representing 30.7% of the overall sample pool of 1,513 members. Participants were recruited through anonymous, voluntary participation in an online survey. Approximately half of the sample (51.8%) was in the age range of 51-65 and mostly male (91.2%). Most participants (61%) practiced in large urban areas and had been in practice 1 to 40 years. The survey elicited basic demographic information and asked participants both whether they would operate on a spouse or other family member and whether they had already done so. Those who performed these operations were asked their motivations (financial, convenience, considering themselves the "best surgeon" for the procedure). Participants were asked about the specific procedure performed and their relationship to the patient, as well as the age and gender of the patient. Lastly, participants reported whether their patient experienced complications and whether the patient was satisfied with the result.
Results
Results showed that plastic surgeons surveyed are comfortable performing elective cosmetic procedures on family members and that the majority had already done so. Eighty-eight percent reported that they would operate on a spouse or other family member, and 83.9% reported they already had done so. The main motivation for performing these operations was the participants' belief they were the best surgeon for the procedure; sixty-seven percent ranked this as their prime motivation. The most commonly listed operations were rhinoplasty, abdominoplasty, eyelidplasty, facelift, breast augmentation, and liposuction. Patient relationships included spouses, children, parents, cousins and in-laws. Patient ages and genders ranged from teenaged males to women in their 70s. The overwhelming majority of participants (94.2%) reported no complications and 99.5% believed the patient to be satisfied with their outcome.
Conclusion
These results indicate that survey participants are not only comfortable with the idea of performing elective cosmetic procedures on family members but have few inhibitions doing so. The majority of respondents felt strongly that they were the best surgeon for the procedure and would not or could not entrust a family member to another surgeon. Surgeons who perform these operations were willing to do so regardless of the invasiveness of the procedure or their particular relationship to the patient. The reported lack of complications and level of patient satisfaction are anomalous for any patient-surgeon sample and suggest that surgeons who operate on family members hold high opinions of their surgical skills and results.


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