Start watching any medical television show and you will see the glamorous and exciting lifestyle of a plastic surgeon.
One minute they have patients under the knife and the next minute they are driving fancy cars and partying with celebrities.
The reality of being a surgeon is quite different then what you see on TV.
While it is true that they make patients look beautiful, it is incredibly difficult and extensive work.
Like with any career, some pros and cons must be considered before jumping into the field.
If you are interested in becoming a plastic surgeon, keep reading to learn more!
Pros of Being a Plastic Surgeon
There are numerous advantages to becoming a plastic surgeon, with the most impactful being:
1. An Exciting Career
Plastic surgeons lead an exciting life and career because every day is difficult.
Each surgery must be perfectly executed and takes time.
While this can be stressful in many instances, it is also a thrilling process.
You will regularly get to tackle new challenges daily and have a variety of scenarios pop up during surgery.
You can also interact with countless healthcare professionals and patients regularly.
2. Excellent Benefits and Salary
One of the best benefits of becoming a surgeon is they make much more than the average doctor.
After anesthesiologists, plastic surgeons are the second-highest-paid medical professionals!
While the average salary is around $255,000 per year, pay in specialized areas, larger metropolitan regions, and private hospitals could be much higher.
Also, surgeons have an excellent disability and health insurance and paid vacations.
3. Great Job Growth Prospects
Society will also require various medical care types, especially within the growing and aging populations, which drives the demand growth for medical professionals.
Surgeon employment is expected to increase by 15% over the next four years, which is much faster than other medical occupations.
This opportunity means surgeons will continue to be in high demand in the future.
4. Helping Others
The other major benefit besides salary is that plastic surgeons know they are helping others have a better quality of life.
From a simple nose job that gives a patient increased confidence and a better life to restructuring a car accident victim’s face, so they look like themselves again,
5. High Job Satisfaction
In addition to these benefits, most plastic surgeons have a high job satisfaction level knowing that they are helping others and have an immediate impact on the patient’s life.
As a result, there is an addictive sense of job satisfaction with every successful surgery.
Having a career that improves another individual’s quality of life is extremely rewarding.
6. Prestigious Job
Since any profession within the medical field is highly respected, becoming a plastic surgeon is a tremendous accomplishment.
This medical specialty is considered more prestigious because it requires extensive education, is intellectually stimulating, and plastic surgeons earn an excellent salary.
7. Stimulating Work and Environment
Medicine is continuously developing assistive surgical technologies and more efficient techniques.
Therefore, all surgeons must be updated on the latest procedures and trends.
Also, every surgery presents new challenges that the surgeon must overcome, so it is a constant learning process.
The result of this knowledge is an elevated level of intellectual and mental stimulation.
Cons of Being a Plastic Surgeon
Do these advantages sound exciting?
The positives of becoming a plastic surgeon are certainly strong and impactful.
However, like with any career, there are disadvantages you must also consider, including:
With plastic surgeons working long hours, they could be on-call depending on the patient.
This means being ready to go into the office at all hours of the day and night.
The result is interference with your social life since it limits the time a plastic surgeon can spend with family, friends, vacations, and other social commitments.
2. Difficult Patients
Not every patient is easy to work with.
Many demand perfection in the plastic surgery industry, so it can be challenging to find a comprise they like.
Most plastic surgeons deal with cranky or unruly patients at some point in their careers.
At home, friends and family may demand care and attention, which can be incredibly challenging to juggle.
This can result in tension, which makes the time spent with loved ones difficult.
Dealing with difficult patients can create a negative environment over time.
When constantly having this negativity around, the positivity of helping patients may not be enough to make the career feel like a grind every day.
Once this happens, the job becomes mundane and you could enter a zombie-like state, which certainly impacts your outside interactions with friends and family.
3. Expensive Schooling Costs
One of the greatest pain points in becoming a plastic surgeon is the educational cost.
With multiple years of study, most incur major financial debt.
At public universities, tuition fees are around $33,000 per year and $53,000 per year at private schools.
The average graduate accrues around $190,000 in debt during medical school.
Even with an excellent salary, it can take years to pay off the debt.
4. Extensive Education Required
The reason the schooling costs are so high is that extensive education is required to become any type of surgeon.
The educational process takes years before you can practice.
To become a surgeon, you need four years of undergraduate work, four years of medical school, plus an internship.
Once these are complete, you need another five years of surgical residency.
This can vary a little depending on any specializations, but this is the general amount of time it takes to become a plastic surgeon.
That is over a decade of training and schooling just to then being your career.
In addition to the lengthy educational requirements, this type of schooling takes extreme commitment.
This means having your nose in the book for eight years or longer, which can greatly impact the college experience.
While you will be studying with other like-minded professionals, having a limited social life can take its toll on some students who want to be able to see their friends and family more often instead of constantly studying.
5. High Stress
Plastic surgeons are constantly under the gun to conduct surgeries perfectly.
This comes with a high price tag of an incredible amount of stress.
Even the smallest error can result in problems during surgery.
Couple perfection with a high level of responsibility, sometimes challenging procedures, and long working hours, and many surgeons develop high anxiety levels or depression.
Difficult patients often add to this stress level, which can leave a bad taste in the mouth of medical professionals trying to help others.
6. Long Hours
Plastic surgeons don’t work the normal 9-5 hours.
Instead, they must work more around their patients’ schedules to perform the surgery, have follow-up meetings, train new doctors, conduct research, attend meetings, publish papers based on their research, and complete administrative tasks.
This means heading to work early and staying late with short breaks throughout the day.
This amount of time spent at the office can result in burnout.
7. Potential for Malpractice Suits
Mistakes occur in all professions, but the repercussions in the medical community can be physically crippling to the patient and financially crippling to the plastic surgeon.
For this reason, surgeons are sued the most for malpractice with around 80% being sued at some point throughout their career.
Malpractice trials can last three-to-five years and add additional burden and stress.
They are also incredibly expensive and can ruin a plastic surgeon’s reputation.
Pros and Cons of Being a Plastic Surgeon – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Plastic Surgeon||Cons of Being a Plastic Surgeon|
|1. An Exciting Career||1. Could Have an Impact on Your Social Life|
|2. Excellent Benefits and Salary||2. Difficult Patients|
|3. Great Job Growth Prospects||3. Expensive Schooling Costs|
|4. Helping Others||4. Extensive Education Required|
|5. High Job Satisfaction||5. High Stress|
|6. Prestigious Job||6. Long Hours|
|7. Stimulating Work and Environment||7. Potential for Malpractice Suits|
Should you Become a Plastic Surgeon?
There are many reasons to become a plastic surgeon – prestige, money, helping others, excitement, excellent job opportunities, and stability.
On the other hand, there are many reasons not to enter the plastic surgery field – long and expensive education, long hours, the potential for malpractice suits, impact on social life, high stress, and difficult patients.
Before entering the field, you need to first determine if you want to put this level of commitment into your career for the next decade, before even starting.
This is a major question to answer as there are many factors involved.
However, if you enjoy all the benefits of becoming a surgeon while working in a fast-paced and exciting environment, then this could be the right career choice for you!
The answer is based on the level of commitment you want to take throughout your career.
As you make this assessment, remember there are positives and negatives to every field, so it is important to find what works best for you!
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