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A Work in Progress: Women's Status in the Plastic Surgery Workforce and Recommendations for Success.

BACKGROUND: Only 20% of the current plastic surgery workforce is female, but since 2022, most matched applicants in integrated plastic surgery programs have been women. This study aimed to examine current practice models among female plastic surgeons, including those outside of academia, as the field continues to evolve.

OBJECTIVES: This study surveyed female plastic surgeons in different practice models to elicit perspectives, career path advice, characterize/project trends, and provide recommendations for success.

METHODS: A 37-question survey focusing on demographics, practice models, career paths, desire for practice changes and advice for women trainees was emailed to 1342 members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and The Aesthetic Society. Chi square analyses compared practice type characteristics (academia, employed roles, private practice), at a significance level of 0.05.

RESULTS: Response rate was 53%. Most respondents were age 35-45, in solo practice, trained via traditional pathways, without fellowships, and lacked female mentors. Private practice surgeons were very satisfied in their career, employed surgeons were moderately satisfied and academic surgeons were mildly satisfied. Academic surgeons reported a higher number of working hours (>60) and cases per month (20-30) than employed or private practice surgeons. Recommendations for success included seeking female mentorship, enhancing business skills and building a social media platform during training.

CONCLUSIONS: Results highlight the importance of female mentorship, acquiring business skills, and indicate private practice leads to greater career satisfaction. Training programs should consider accounting for these factors to better promote women's success and improve equity in academic practice.

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