Plastic surgery and global health: How plastic surgery impacts the global burden of surgical disease

Nadine B. Semer, Stephen R. Sullivan, John G. Meara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


The global burden of surgical disease is estimated as being 11% of the total global burden of disease. In this article we discuss the portion of this burden which could be ameliorated with plastic surgical expertise. Although not necessarily seen as a major player in issues related to global health, plastic surgeons are uniquely qualified to decrease the burden of surgical disease afflicting people in the developing world. Burns, traumatic injuries, and congenital anomalies are some of the areas where the presence of plastic surgical expertise can make a significant difference in patient outcomes and thereby decrease the years of life lost due to disability due to these highly treatable conditions. In light of the severe shortage of plastic surgeons throughout the developing world, it falls to those concentrated in the developed world to harness their skills and address the vast unmet needs of the developing world so as to enhance global health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1244-1248
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010



  • Global burden of surgical disease
  • Global surgery
  • Plastic surgery in the developing world

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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