Health Inequities in the Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Outcomes of Plastic Surgery: A Scoping Review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Plastic surgery is routinely sought after for the treatment of breast cancer, cleft lip and palate, and gender-affirming care. Inequities exist in plastic surgery in regard to the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes experienced by patients. The purpose of our scoping review was to (1) outline current literature addressing health inequities in plastic surgery and (2) draw attention to the gaps in this literature. 

Methods: This scoping review was developed following guidelines from the Joanna Briggs Institute and PRISMA extension for scoping reviews. An initial search of MEDLINE (via PubMed), Ovid Embase, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus databases was performed to locate published articles on health inequities in plastic surgery. Articles had to address at least one of the National Institutes of Health's inequity groups we examined. 

Results: After reviewing full text, 153 studies were included in our final sample. We found race/ethnicity (94/153) and age (90/153) to be the 2 most commonly evaluated inequities in the scoping review. We discovered that patient populations that were older had public or no insurance and/or were in historically marginalized racial/ethnic groups were often less likely to be offered plastic surgery treatments. 

Conclusion: This scoping review describes the current literature on health inequities in plastic surgery and highlights gaps in the literature that warrant further research. We found significant findings regarding how vulnerable patient populations are affected by health inequities. Research should be conducted to investigate these inequities more thoroughly and discover the best solutions to bridge the gaps in providing equitable care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlastic Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • equitable care
  • health inequity
  • inequities
  • plastic surgery
  • scoping review


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