Abstract

A career as a plastic surgeon is both rewarding and challenging. The road to becoming a surgeon is a long arduous endeavor and can bring significant challenges not only to the surgeon but their family. A study by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) suggested that over 40% of surgeons experience burnout and a recent survey of American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) showed that more than one-fourth of plastic surgeons have signs of professional burnout. Burnout is a state of physical and mental exhaustion. The three main components of burnout are emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. Exhaustion occurs as a result of emotional demands. Depersonalization refers to a cynical, negative or a detached response to patient care. The reduced accomplishment refers to a belief that one can no longer work effectively. There has been a recent explosion in the literature characterizing burnout within the surgical profession. Reports of burnout, burnout victims, and burnout syndrome are filling the medical literature, books, blogs, and social media across all different specialties. Burnout in a plastic surgeon has negative and potentially fatal repercussions to the surgeon, their family, their patients, their staff, colleagues, coworkers, and their organization. To date, there are a limited number of publications addressing burnout in the plastic surgery community. The goals of this paper are to review the symptoms of burnout, its effect on plastic surgeons, and discuss potential solutions for burnout prevention and physician wellness.

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