A New Report Reveals That 4 In 10 Plastic Surgeons Are Suffering From Burnout

The Medscape Plastic Surgeon Lifestyle, Happiness, and Burnout Report 2022 found that plastic surgeons are experiencing high rates of burnout, with work-life balance declining.

Burnout is affecting 4 in 10 plastic surgeons, according to the Medscape Plastic Surgeon Lifestyle, Happiness, and Burnout Report 2022. The newly released report was compiled from an online survey conducted from June to September in 2021 and included over 13,000 physicians from 29 specialties, of which 1% were plastic surgeons.

Plastic surgeons were in the middle range of burnt-out specialities, sitting at a slightly lower percentage than that of physicians across all specialties (47%). Pre-pandemic, 70% of plastic surgeons said they were happy with their work-life balance, but that percentage has now dropped to 58%. Around half of the plastic surgeons who took the survey (52%) reported they were more burnt-out now than during the first month of the pandemic.

Unsurprisingly, emergency medicine (60%) and critical care (56%) had the highest reported rates of work-related fatigue and burnout. Meanwhile, dermatology (33%) and public health and preventive medicine (26%) reported the lowest rates.

The top contributors to burnout included the volume of bureaucratic tasks (46%), too many hours spent at work (38 per cent) and lack of control over their life (35%). Three out of four plastic surgeons also said burnout had a negative effect on their personal relationships.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • 50% of female plastic surgeons reported feeling burned-out, while 37% of their male colleagues said the same.
  • 3 in 4 plastic surgeons described their marriage as “very good” or “good,” they ranked lowest among all specialists for marital happiness.
  • 28% of plastic surgeons reported having clinical depression, compared to 24% of physicians overall.
  • 73% of plastic surgeons reported being happy outside of work, compared to 59% of physicians overall.
  • 75% said burnout had a negative effect on personal relationships.
  • About 4 in 10 plastic surgeons are willing to take a pay-cut to improve their work-life balance.

The top solutions for alleviating burnout amongst plastic surgeons were reducing work hours (34%), making workflow or staff changes to ease their workload (33%), hiring additional staff (21%) and participating in meditation and other stress-reduction techniques (15%).

To promote happiness and mental health, plastic surgeons said they participated in hobbies (71%), exercised (65%), and spent time with family and friends (63%). Getting enough sleep (52%) and eating healthy (46%) were also common, while just 4% of plastic surgeons said they regularly attended therapy to maintain their wellbeing.

Read the full Medscscape report here.

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