The Impact of Political Advocacy on the Plastic Surgeon: A Data-Driven Analysis

Warren A. Ellsworth, David A. Hill, Amjed Abu-Ghname, Matthew J. Davis, Edward P. Buchanan, Faryan Jalalabadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Despite successful legislative efforts by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the Plastic Surgery Political Action Committee remains underused. Participation in advocacy and financial contributions of ASPS members fall below those of similar surgical subspecialties. This study aims to perform a data-driven investigation into the impact of Plastic Surgery Political Action Committee efforts on the practicing plastic surgeon. Methods: A retrospective review of the ASPS procedural database from 1992 to 2018 and Plastic Surgery Political Action Committee contributions from 2012 to 2018 was performed. Postmastectomy breast and congenital anomaly reconstructions were analyzed. To determine significant variations in trends, change-point analyses were conducted. Changes in surgical volume were correlated to implementation of federal legislative efforts. Results: Three significant trends of increased breast reconstruction volume were detected with associations to three specific legislative changes: 1992 to 1998, which correlates with the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act; 2006 to 2009, which correlates with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of silicone breast implant use; and 2013 to 2015, which correlates with the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act. During the study period, breast reconstruction procedures increased substantially compared with all reconstructive procedures (146.6 percent versus 3.6 percent). There were no significant trends detected for birth defect reconstructions. Although contributions were relatively stagnant, resident member contributions increased after 2015, correlating with formation of the Political Action Committee's Resident's Club. Conclusions: This study demonstrates a correlation in timing between Plastic Surgery Political Action Committee legislative accomplishments and the resulting case volume increase in some areas of plastic surgery. The data highlight the importance of political advocacy and how political action committee activities can directly impact patient access to care and the practice of plastic surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1049
Number of pages11
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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