What are the Advantages and the Disadvantages of Being a Plastic Surgeon? Why Become a Plastic Surgeon?



Is being a plastic surgeon stressful?

What’s it like to be a plastic surgeon?



There have been a number of TV dramas and reality shows focused on the lives of plastic surgeons.


Names of a few of them?


Nip/Tuck – featuring Dylan Walsh, Julian McMahon, and Joely Richardson.


Botched – which featured Paul Nassif and Terry Dubrow (plastic surgeon husbands to Real Housewife stars).


The Doctors – not all about plastic surgeons, but plastic surgeony enough to be listed here. Daytime talk show produced by Dr. Phil.



A typical plastic surgeon’s lifestyle is made out to be flashy and fanciful.


But is that the reality?


No, it’s not, as you will see/ learn by reading through this article.


First, though, in this video, Dr. Nima Patel discusses the training that’s required to become a plastic surgeon in the U.S.




So, is being a surgeon the right choice for you?


Let’s consider the advantages and the disadvantages of being a surgeon.



Advantages of Being a Plastic Surgeon


1  Money and career prospects

Plastic surgeons are well paid. Plastic surgeons are very well paid.


How much do plastic surgeons earn?


According to Medscape’s Plastic Surgeon Compensation Report 2019, plastic surgeons, on average, and with regards to the U.S., were making $471,000 per year. This amount does tend to vary quite a bit.


For all healthcare professionals, that’s second on the list of top earners. 


What’s the top-earning healthcare profession in the U.S. for 2019?




How much do orthopedic surgeons make?


In 2019, that was $482,000 per annum. 



2  Job satisfaction

Are plastic surgeons in the U.S. happy at their work?


According to Medscape’s report for 2019: You better believe it!


Plastic surgeons came out top of all healthcare professionals when asked if they were happy while at work.


Some 41 percent of plastic surgeons said that they were either very happy or extremely happy at work. 



Plastic surgeons are also happy when not at work.


Again, according to the Medscape 2019 report, some 55 percent of survey respondents said that they were either very happy or extremely happy, for the most part, when not at work. 


That’s understandable, of course, given the amount of money that plastic surgeons make. Even though “money does not bring you happiness.





Disadvantages of Being a Surgeon

1  Education is lengthy and costly


To become a plastic surgeon, there’s a very lengthy educational path ahead of you.


It’s an educational path that is similar to a general surgeon’s.


That educational path starts out with the completion of a bachelor’s degree. You’ve got to have excellent grades, too.


Then, you must study for and sit your Medical College Admissions Test.


Next, there’s medical school, which takes four years.


While you’re at medical school, you also need to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination.


Once you’ve completed medical school and passed the United States Medical Licensing Examination, there’s the surgical residency to get through.


How long is the surgical residency?


A minimum of five years.


What’s next?


For plastic surgeons, it’s now onto a fellowship program which takes two to three years. 


It’s worth noting that throughout your period of residency, the working hours will be very long and sometimes irregular. The pay will be also be low.


How about student loan debt?


What can you expect in terms of the amount of student loan debt to become a surgeon?


Because there is so much studying involved over many years, as you can imagine, student loan debt for plastic surgeons, and for surgeons in general, can prove to be immense.


While this is not an account provided by a surgeon (the author of the article is, nevertheless, a medical doctor), it’s a harrowing account all the same. Have a read: U.S. doctors deal with crippling student loan debts.



2  Long hours, high stress levels, work burnout


Those responsibilities for plastic surgeons include: 


Carrying out surgeries

Consulting with new patients

Following up with current patients

Staying current in their own work

If they own a plastic surgery, they must manage their business


Obviously, plastic surgeons must work long hours to deal with all of these responsibilities.


In a 2019 survey carried out by Medscape, it was found that 36 percent of plastic surgeons said that they were burned out because of work.


In the same survey, 13 percent said they were colloquially depressed (mild to moderate depression), and 3 percent said they were clinically depressed (severe depression).


For general physicians, depression rates are similar to plastic surgeons, while burned out rates are higher in general physicians (44 percent).



3  Potential for exposure to malpractice suits


Lawsuits are a concern for surgeons in general. And for plastic surgeons, it’s no different.


Why so?


Surgeons are among the medical professionals that are most likely to be sued for medical malpractice.


In Medscape’s 2018 survey, the question was asked to plastic surgeons: “What is the most challenging part of your job?

Worrying about being sued” was the fourth major concern for plastic surgeons in this survey. 



So, you still want to be a plastic surgeon?


Image by Yerson Retamal from Pixabay