Analysis of Cosmetic Topics on the Plastic Surgery In-Service Training Exam.

By Gennaio 15, 2018 Gennaio 24th, 2020 No Comments

Jason Silvestre, BS Anthony J. Taglienti, MD Joseph M. Serletti, MD Benjamin Chang, MD

Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 35, Issue 6, 1 August 2015, Pages 739–745

Published: 31 July 2015



The Plastic Surgery In-Service Training Exam (PSITE) is a multiple-choice examination taken by plastic surgery trainees to provide an assessment of plastic surgery knowledge.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate cosmetic questions and determine overlap with national procedural data.


Digital syllabi of six consecutive PSITE administrations (2008-2013) were analyzed for cosmetic surgery topics. Questions were classified by taxonomy, focus, anatomy, and procedure. Answer references were tabulated by source. Relationships between tested material and national procedural volume were assessed via Pearson correlation.


301 questions addressed cosmetic topics (26% of all questions) and 20 required image interpretations (7%). Question-stem taxonomy favored decision-making (40%) and recall (37%) skills over interpretation (23%, P < .001). Answers focused on treatments/outcomes (67%) over pathology/anatomy (20%) and diagnoses (13%, P < .001). Tested procedures were largely surgical (85%) and focused on the breast (25%), body (18%), nose (13%), and eye (10%). The most common surgeries were breast augmentation (12%), rhinoplasty (11%), blepharoplasty (10%), and body contouring (6%). Minimally invasive procedures were lasers (5%), neuromodulators (4%), and fillers (3%). Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (58%), Clinics in Plastic Surgery (7%), and Aesthetic Surgery Journal (6%) were the most cited journals, with a median 5-year publication lag. There was poor correlation between PSITE content and procedural volume data ( r2 = 0.138, P = .539).


Plastic surgeons receive routine evaluation of cosmetic surgery knowledge. These data may help optimize clinical and didactic experiences for training in cosmetic surgery.