Working life (plastic surgery)

This page provides useful information on the working week as well as any on call and other commitments, along with information on who you will work with. The attractions and challenges of the job are also in this section.

“Plastic surgeons enjoy a varied and interesting working life with patients of all ages, from newborn babies onwards. The work is extremely rewarding as you’ll often have the opportunity to change people’s lives for the better.”  Dr Max Codispoti, Consultant Plastic Surgeon.

How your time is spent

Time spent in operations can vary. Some surgery is lengthy and may involve collaboration with other surgical specialists. Patients undergoing complex surgery often need long-term follow-up. Other operations may require brief surgery (sometimes using a local anaesthetic), with relatively little follow-up needed.

As with any surgical specialty, your working week is not spent entirely in theatre. There’ll be the usual workload of outpatient clinics, ward rounds and meetings to attend. Before surgery you’ll meet with patients to discuss and explain procedures. You’ll also monitor patients after surgery.

Plastic surgeons regularly contribute to research and there will be the opportunity to present your results at conferences both in the UK and overseas.

On call and working hours

Most plastic surgery involves a mix of planned or elective surgery and emergency work. A high proportion of the non-emergency work involves treating patients with skin cancer. Emergency work involves dealing with severe burns, often for children and operating on patients following an accident or trauma. This can mean call-outs during the night on occasion.

The EU Working Time Directive limits the working week to 48 hours.

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