Plastic surgical trainees’ perspectives toward burn surgery in Australasia: What has changed in 17 years?

Dr Sadhishaan Sreedharan1, Mr  Cheng Hean Lo1,2 Heather Cleland1,2

1Victorian Adult Burns Service, The Alfred, Melbourne, Australia, 2Department of Surgery, Central Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia


There is a recognised shortage of burn surgeons worldwide. Despite burn surgery being a fundamental competency in the Australia and New Zealand Plastic and Reconstructive surgery training curriculum, there is low interest amongst trainees. The aim of this study is to investigate Australasian plastic surgery trainees’ interest in burns as a career and compare them to a similar survey conducted by Brown and Mills in 2004.

Material and Methods:
Electronic surveys were distributed to all Australian and New Zealand Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery trainees during the March 2021 SET Registrar conference. The survey included Australasian plastics trainee’s experience in burn surgery, interest in pursuing a career in burns and barriers for pursuing a career in burns.

Seventy-one (58.7%) trainees participated in the survey. Forty-two (59.2%) trainees had completed a term in Burns with the average length of time spent in burns of 10.7 ± 8.6 (SD) months. There were 34 (48.6%) trainees interested in pursuing a career in burns. The top three barriers to a career in burns identified were: 1) nature of burns operations; 2) nature of burns care; and 3) on call commitments.

This study shows that there is some growth in the interest in the subspecialty of burn surgery amongst Australasian plastics trainees. Measures should be implemented to increase junior medical staff exposure with a well-rounded clinical experience focusing on primary surgical care, critical care and secondary reconstruction. Furthermore, interested individuals should be identified, mentored, and encouraged to seek fellowship and employment opportunities.


Currently a Plastics Registrar doing a term in Victorian Adults Burns Service

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