January 2019 #PRSJournalClub Wrap-Up: Analysis of Number of Children for Female and Male Plastic Surgeons

by Karen Chung, MD
Plastic Surgery Resident
University of Toronto

The January 2019 edition of #PRSJournalClub provided an insightful and thought-provoking discussion on the #PRSJournal Facebook page, which enabled a broad audience to ask questions and interact directly with the authors. 

The article, “An Analysis of Differences in the Number of Children for Female and Male Plastic Surgeons,” can be found here for free. 

This article is topical and insightful given the recent PRS Special Topic Series in September of 2016 entitled “Women in Plastic Surgery.” Issues explored included reproductive issues, maternity leave in residency and personal experiences with pregnancy and infertility. Perceptions around these issues may have changed compared to six decades ago , when gender roles were more clearly delineated and female plastic surgeons made up less than 1 percent of graduates,  however there is much variability between programs and centers. Furnas et al, aim to identify current differences in the perceptions, experiences and outcomes in the reproductive lives of women and men plastic surgeons in order to clarify the impact that the current infrastructure has on women reproductive lives and on female medical students on choosing a surgical career. Of the 757 respondents, the following themes were reported:

  1. Men were more likely than women to have children before the age of 30.
  2. None of the 81 female respondents electively terminated a pregnancy, but six partners of the 170 male respondents did and four of these were influenced by training demands.
  3. 10% of residents felt they worked harder during pregnancy, and 40% felt their pregnancy increased the workload for their colleagues, and just under half had a complication.
  4. 80% residents worked until initiation of labour and under 1/3 took a month or less of leave.
  5. Work forced two-thirds of women to curtail breastfeeding sooner than they wished.
  6. Over twice as many women were dissatisfied with their level of involvement with their children compared to men.
  7. Women were more likely to support a co-resident’s pregnancy during training than were men, and a significantly higher percentage of women felt their program director/chief/chair would not support their decision to have a child during training.

The article was first discussed by the current Resident Ambassadors to the PRS Editorial Board Raj Parikh, MD, Lily Mundy, MD and Kyle Sanniec, MD and the special guest moderator Sheri Slezak, MD.  Listen to the podcast discussion below:

The PRS article “Pregnancy and the Plastic Surgery Resident” by Dr. Rebecca M. Garza, Dr. Jane S. Weston and Dr. Heather J. Furnas outlines possible suggestion for changes.

PRS has free collection of 25 relevant articles entitled “Women in Plastic Surgery” linked here. Dr. Heather Furnas and Dr. Francisco Canales provide an excellent 2017 PRS grand rounds of this topic on the first page. 

An excellent online discussion also took place on the #PRSJournal Facebook page on January 27, where established plastic surgeons and residents were able to ask questions, and get answers from the authors of the article themselves. 

Don’t worry if you missed it! A summary of popular topics from this stimulating discussion is provided here. Questions about policy change, prospective studies, residency structure, and national strategies are asked and answered.

We hope you enjoy the top highlights from the discussion and look forward to seeing you at the next #PRSJournalClub on Facebook! 


This January #PRSJournalClub article (as well as other Journal Club selections from January), selected classic pairings and videos, and the entire Facebook Q&A are archived on PRSJournal.com here.

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