Arch Plast Surg.  2021 Nov;48(6):651-659. 10.5999/aps.2021.00745.

Plastic surgery and specialty creep: an analysis of publication trends

  • 1Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA


Many surgical specialties have had pioneering influences from plastic surgeons. However, many of these areas of practice have evolved to include surgeons from diverse training backgrounds. This raises the question as to whether the prominence of other specialties in clinical practice translates to greater research productivity in these areas. The objective of this paper is to investigate the publication volumes of plastic surgeons in selected areas of practice compared to surgeons from other disciplines.
PubMed was used to examine publication trends in areas associated with plastic surgery. Searches for the following topics were performed: head and neck reconstruction, hand surgery, breast reconstruction, ventral hernia repair, abdominal component separation, brachial plexus injury, craniofacial surgery, and aesthetic surgery. Affiliation tags were used to examine contributions from nine specialties. Web of Science was used to identify the top cited articles for the last 10 years in each area.
Articles by non-plastic surgeons comprise the majority of the literature for all areas of practice studied except for breast reconstruction and aesthetic surgery. Despite this, plastic surgeons contributed the greatest number of top cited articles over the last 10 years for five of the areas of practice.
While plastic surgeons do not contribute the greatest proportion of articles published each year in several of the selected areas of practice, they do publish a larger number of articles that are the most cited. Plastic surgeons remain the dominant academic force in terms of volume and citations for both breast and aesthetic surgery.


Surgery, plastic / PubMed / Mammaplasty
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