Effect of Training Backgrounds on Plastic Surgery Leadership: A Logistic Regression Analysis

Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2024 May 23;12(5):e5776. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000005776. eCollection 2024 May.


Background: Although career choices are often shaped by training and mentors, it is not clear how training backgrounds have influenced whether plastic surgeons pursue leadership positions. Analysis of these training pathways can serve as a key component of career planning for future leaders.

Methods: The American Board of Plastic Surgery's annual Newsletter to Diplomates was used to collate surgeons receiving board certification between 2002 and 2013. Online public profiles were used to collect training background data about each surgeon, including fellowship training, board certification year, MBA degree, otolaryngology or maxillofacial surgery training before commencing plastic surgery training, and leadership positions in surgery. A logistic multinomial regression was used to test the effect of training backgrounds on different types of leadership positions.

Results: In total, 2190 plastic surgeons were included in the analysis. Factors increasing the probability of holding any type of position included fellowships in microsurgery, craniofacial, and hand; an international fellowship; multiple fellowships; a fellowship not otherwise specified; and MBA degree. Training background factors affected probabilities differently for each of the studied positions including chair/chief, vice chair/vice chief, program director, plastic surgery medical director, other institutional positions, and national society positions.

Conclusions: Training backgrounds of plastic surgeons in leadership positions are multifaceted, involving a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic factors such as additional educational pursuits, subspecialty training, duration of practice, and practice setting. This analysis can help direct current trainees who aspire to future leadership in plastic surgery.