Head and neck research in plastic surgery-Ahead of the rest? An analysis of abstracts presented at British association of plastic reconstructive and aesthetic surgeons meetings

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2021 Oct 22:817-822. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2021.09.047. Online ahead of print.


Introduction & aims: Historically, the head and neck (H&N) discipline has been integral to the service a plastic surgeon provides. Recently, it has been postulated that its popularity is declining. The output of scientific meetings may indicate the popularity of each sub-speciality interest, also allowing comparison with other H&N conferences.

Aim: To analyse the proportion of H&N themed, podium and poster presentations from British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons' (BAPRAS) scientific meetings and the resulting contribution to published literature.

Material and methods: H&N-themed abstracts were identified from finalised programmes of the biannual BAPRAS meetings between 2008 and 2015. PubMed and Google Scholar databases were searched using keywords and author names from each abstract to identify subsequent publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Results: Overall, 19.3% (350/1815) of BAPRAS abstracts were H&N themed. The publication rate of H&N abstracts was 40.3% (141/350), comprising 43.0% (114/265) of podium and 31.8% (27/85) of poster presentations. H&N reconstruction and cleft and craniofacial were the most frequent topics, with facial palsy having the lowest conversion rate at 15.4%. The mean time to publication was 17.8 months. Research was published in 39 journals, with a mean impact factor of 2.151 (range = 0.772-11.541). The most popular journal was Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery (JPRAS; 31.7%; 45/141). Published abstracts originated from 17 different countries. The senior author was a plastic surgeon in 77.3% of abstracts.

Conclusions: From the multiple potential sub-specialties, H&N-themed abstracts consistently contributed 20% of all research presented at BAPRAS. The 40.3% publication rate exceeds the international average of scientific meetings. H&N remains a prominent field in the armamentarium of a plastic surgeon.

Keywords: British association of plastic reconstructive and aesthetic surgeons; Head and neck; Plastic surgery; Publication rate; Research.