Discussing sexuality in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery: a national survey of current practice in the Netherlands

Rieky E. Dikmans, Esmée M. Krouwel, Mahsa Ghasemi, Tim C. van de Grift, Mark-Bram Bouman, Marco J. P. F. Ritt, Henk W. Elzevier, Margriet G. Mullender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Patient-reported outcomes have become increasingly important to assess the value of surgical procedures. Sexual function is a proven important constituent of quality of life, but is often overlooked by health care professionals. We aim to investigate to what extent plastic surgeons address or discuss issues concerning sexuality with their patients, and if there is a need for improvement. Methods: We developed a survey to assess whether topics pertaining to sexual function were discussed during plastic surgical consultations. In 2016, all 385 members of the Dutch Association for Plastic Surgery were invited via post mail to participate. Results: We received 106 completed surveys (27.5%). The median age of the respondents was 45 (29–66) years. Most participants (78.3%) indicated that they rarely to never discuss sexuality with their patients. Surgeons in the subspecialization gender and genital surgery discussed sexual function most frequently. Two thirds of all respondents indicated that their current knowledge on this topic was insufficient, yet there was generally no interest expressed in receiving additional training (78.6%). However, there was a need for proper patient brochures (43.4%) and an organized referral network (36.5%) regarding sexuality. Conclusions: In plastic surgery practice, sexuality appears to be a rarely discussed subject, with the gender and genital surgery subspecialties as the exception. Although professionals and patients emphasize the importance of sexuality, plastic surgeons express limited urge to be trained and prefer written patient information and referring patients to other healthcare professionals. The authors stimulate more education on sexuality during (continued) plastic surgery training. Level of Evidence: Not ratable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-714
JournalEuropean Journal of Plastic Surgery
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Cite this