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Plastic Surgeons' Career Choices

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Many doctors are drawn to the field of medicine at an early age. But how do plastic surgeons choose their particular area of specialty? Is it true that many are in it mainly for the income?

There’s no denying that it can be tough to make a go of it these days in a more mainstream field. With high overhead costs, including malpractice insurance, endless bureaucratic issues with insurance companies and low Medicare reimbursement rates, many internists and general practitioners just aren’t doing well, explained Dr. Stephen T. Sigmund, an internist practicing on California’s Central Coast.

“It's no wonder that med students these days want to go into one of the elective fields like dermatology, orthopedics and ophthalmology,” he says. “Yes, and plastic surgery.”

So, yes, no doubt many plastic surgeons choose their specialty to ensure a healthy revenue stream. That said, you might be surprised by some of the other reasons they give for selecting their field.

Dr. David Kaufman, a Sacramento plastic surgeon, chose his specialty with an eye toward family life. "My children are young, and I want to be sure to have time to spend with them," he explained. "When you're doing cosmetic surgery, there are few, if any, urgent situations that take you away at a moment's notice, and your weekends are often your own. My practice allows me to keep my family as a top priority in my life."

Other plastic surgeons select their field out of a deep-seated passion. Dr. Loren Eskenazi and her staff are fully focused on the health and well being of women; in fact, their San Francisco-based organization is called Women’s Plastic Surgery. They perform many breast procedures including several approaches to breast reconstruction and surgery to address congenital deformities as well as routine breast augmentation. According to their website, they “understand the issues that their patients face regarding body image and self esteem.”

If you pay attention to plastic surgeons’ websites, you may notice that many say they were drawn to their specialty for the chance to combine art and science.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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