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Who Do You Prefer? A Study of Public Preferences for Health Care Provider Type in Performing Cutaneous Surgery and Cosmetic Procedures in the United States

Bangash, Haider K. MD*; Ibrahimi, Omar A. MD, PhD†,‡; Green, Lawrence J. MD§; Alam, Murad MD, MSCI; Eisen, Daniel B. MD; Armstrong, April W. MD, MPH

doi: 10.1111/dsu.0000000000000016
Original Article

BACKGROUND The public preference for provider type in performing cutaneous surgery and cosmetic procedures is unknown in the United States.

METHODS An internet-based survey was administered to the lay public. Respondents were asked to select the health care provider (dermatologist, plastic surgeon, primary care physician, general surgeon, and nurse practitioner/physician's assistant) they mostly prefer to perform different cutaneous cosmetic and surgical procedures.

RESULTS Three hundred fifty-four respondents undertook the survey. Dermatologists were identified as the most preferable health care provider to evaluate and biopsy worrisome lesions on the face (69.8%), perform skin cancer surgery on the back (73.4%), perform skin cancer surgery on the face (62.7%), and perform laser procedures (56.3%) by most of the respondents. For filler injections, the responders similarly identified plastic surgeons and dermatologists (47.3% vs 44.6%, respectively) as the most preferred health care provider. For botulinum toxin injections, there was a slight preference for plastic surgeons followed by dermatologists (50.6% vs 38.4%). Plastic surgeons were the preferred health care provider for procedures such as liposuction (74.4%) and face-lift surgery (96.1%) by most of the respondents.

CONCLUSION Dermatologists are recognized as the preferred health care providers over plastic surgeons, primary care physicians, general surgeons, and nurse practitioners/physician's assistants to perform a variety of cutaneous cosmetic and surgical procedures including skin cancer surgery, on the face and body, and laser procedures. The general public expressed similar preferences for dermatologists and plastic surgeons regarding filler injections.

*Department of Internal Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut;

Connecticut Skin Institute, Stamford, Connecticut;

Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts;

§Department of Dermatology, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC;

Department of Dermatology, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois;

Department of Dermatology, University of California Davis, Sacramento, California

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Omar A. Ibrahimi, MD, PhD, Connecticut Skin Institute, 999 Summer Street, Suite 205, Stamford, CT 06032, or e-mail:

H.K. Bangash and O.A. Ibrahimi have contributed equally to this study.

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

© 2014 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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