From pediatrics to oncology, every specialization attracts doctors for a different reason. Plastic surgeons are a special case because so many of their procedures are elective, or optional. Doctors who work in an emergency room, for example, see a lot of life-or-death situations. On the other hand, a patient seeking a breast augmentation generally doesn’t need that procedure for health reasons. The primary benefits may be measured concerning aesthetics or the patient’s satisfaction, but surgical procedures that are cosmetic in nature still require a competent and fully trained physician. So why would someone choose this field?
At a clinic that offers cosmetic procedures, a lot of patients will come to get a facelift, tummy tuck, or breast surgery, but these clinics also see patients who have suffered from severe burns or struggled through a fight against breast cancer. When accidents and illnesses affect a person’s physical appearance, it’s not uncommon for them to turn to plastic surgeons.
There’s no doubt that some physicians are drawn to medicine by the promise of financial security. Given the long years of study and medical school debt, it makes sense that doctors would be appropriately compensated. Depending on factors like added risks, additional training, and demand, physicians in some fields make more money than others. Many plastic surgeons own at least a part of their own medical business, increasing the financial risk and opportunity for profit. A surgical clinic that does well can make a lot of money, but a business failure can be a huge financial loss.
Physicians in this field often have an appreciation for technological innovation. By contrast, the treatments for cuts and broken bones have not radically changed in decades. New injectables and cosmetic treatments appear every year, and an informed doctor can keep abreast of the latest options. Innovative technology offers new alternatives for patients. When a patient has specific concerns about their crow’s feet or another aesthetic issue, newer injectables can be considered alongside older treatments. Certain personality types are drawn to this kind of lifetime learning.
Plastic surgeons have a greater degree of freedom than many other types of doctors. Most medical professionals have to remain on call for medical emergencies. Since cosmetic treatment is elective surgery, there is rarely an urgent need for immediate treatment. Since the patient’s life expectancy is rarely impacted by aesthetic modifications, there is more flexibility when it comes to selecting and carrying out the chosen procedure.
Students who are in medical school will often have a couple of specializations in mind. During rotations in different departments, students can discover their personal aptitudes and preferences. A private clinic may be a different kind of work environment from the typical hospital, but small offices may recruit promising graduates. After study and experience with specific procedures, physicians have the opportunity to work toward becoming board certified. Ultimately, many doctors only find their path after trying several different options in medical school. The reasons behind that choice are as different as the backgrounds and worldviews of each new doctor.