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Plastic Surgeons and the Internet: Results of a Worldwide Survey

Koch, Horst MD*; Dabernig, Jörg MD; Allert, Sixtus MD; Puchinger, Markus PhD§; Scharnagl, Erwin MD*

Original Articles

To obtain information on the use of the Internet, 3,139 survey forms were sent out to plastic surgeons throughout the world. More than 90% of the 565 respondents have access to the Internet and 85.5% use electronic mail for professional matters. They use the World Wide Web to search the literature, to read scientific articles, and to obtain information on congresses. A substantial proportion of the contributors have a positive attitude toward virtual congresses on the Internet and most would welcome a newsgroup dedicated to plastic surgery. Perceived apprehensions include secure transmission of sensitive data, slow data transmission, and the lack of structure and of an authority to control the contents of the Internet. Virtual congresses and a newsgroup on plastic surgery seem to be worthwhile future goals. Some problems pointed out in this survey have already been solved, at least partially, and possible solutions for the rest are discussed.

A worldwide survey demonstrated that 90% of 565 plastic surgeon respondents had Internet access and that 85% used e-mail professionally. Although they favored virtual congresses and newsgroups, they were concerned about security of sensitive data, slow transmission, and lack of control of content.

*Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, and the §Division of Medical Engineering and Computing, Department of Surgery, Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria; the †Department of Hand-, Micro- and Plastic Surgery, Dachau Hospital, Germany; and the ‡Department of Plastic Surgery, Kreiskrankenhaus Hameln, Germany.

Received Sep 28, 2001,

and in revised form Jan 26, 2002.

Accepted for publication Jan 26, 2002.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Koch, Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 29, A-8036 Graz, Austria.

Koch H, Dabernig J, Allert S, Puchinger M, Scharnagl E. Plastic surgeons and the Internet: results of a worldwide survey.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.