Characterizing the Top 1% of Plastic Surgery Recipients of Industry Payments
Kinsey Barhorst, BS; Kyle Singerman, BS; Meredith L. Moore, BS; Ryan Gobble, MD, FACS
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Presenter: Kinsey Barhorst
All authors participated in the conception and design of this study. KB, KS, and MM performed data collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data, with the majority performed by KB. KB, KS, and MM drafted the abstract with all authors critically revising and reviewing the final abstract.
Director Name: Anne Schwentker
Author Category: Medical Student
Presentation Category: Clinical
Abstract Category: Aesthetics
Purpose: Payments to US plastic surgeons from industry are disproportionately provided to a minority of plastic surgeons, with the top 1% of plastic surgeons (n=39) receiving 51.6% of all industry payments. We seek to broadly characterize this cohort with respect to academic background, influence as evidenced by social media, and payment trends in order to gain insight what may lead to these disproportionate payments.
Methods: After matching the 2019 American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) member directory with corresponding recipients in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Open Payments Database (CMS OPD), we selected out 39 plastic surgeons who received the majority of industry dollars awarded over 2013-2018. For this 1% of plastic surgeons, we investigated payment details, patent ownership, social media information, and research productivity.
Results: The 39 surgeons received a total of $46,137,951 from industry between 2013-2018. The majority received their payments for "Services Other than Consulting', "Consulting", and "Royalty or Licenses" in descending order, the latter of which accounted for $20,752,259 (45%) to the top 3 overall earners. Instagram was the most represented social media platform. Only 2 (5.1%) surgeons were female, none of which were in the top 25 earners.
Conclusion: Uncovering characteristics of top industry funded surgeons may inform asymmetric industry payments. The majority of top surgeons were fellowship-trained, private practice surgeons active on social media, with male surgeons being disproportionately compensated. Because of the influence industry can have in the field, it remains important to characterize the prototypical surgeon affiliated with industry.
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