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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2003 Oct;112(5):1371-5; discussion 1377-8.

The integral role of the plastic surgeon at a level I trauma center.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Denver Health Medical Center and University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 80204, USA.


The role of plastic surgery in urban level I trauma centers in the United States has been largely undefined, despite the undeniable historical involvement of plastic surgery in reconstruction of posttraumatic defects. To explore and define this role, case data were prospectively collected during a 29-month period following initiation of a full-time plastic surgery position at an established urban level I trauma center. Referring and/or interacting surgical service, anatomical area of interest, and procedure data were tabulated. A total of 1009 operative reports comprising 1104 procedures were recorded. The most common interacting surgical services were orthopedics and general/trauma surgery; however, interaction occurred with a total of 10 surgical specialties. The upper extremity was the most common anatomical area operated on followed by head and neck, lower extremity, trunk, urogenital, and breast. A wide variety of procedures were performed in each anatomical area, demonstrating the broad scope of reconstructive surgery practiced in a trauma setting. Three hundred and twenty-four procedures involved expertise in microsurgery, flaps, and burn or frostbite care. Additional procedures commonly performed demonstrated considerable overlap with other fields of surgical specialization. This overlap in skills proved advantageous in distribution of facial trauma call and hand surgery coverage. Data presented in this study reinforce the idea that plastic surgery is a specialty defined by concept rather than anatomical area, and also demonstrate a significant role for plastic surgeons in a level I trauma center.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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