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Enhanced Psychosocial Support Is Needed For Plastic Surgery Patients: A Study Of Emotional And Social Interaction Management In Burn And Plastic Surgery Patients
Naikhoba CO Munabi, MD, MPH, Erin E. Ross, BS, Rachel A. Colbath, BS, Jeremy Yu, MS, Warren L. Garner, MD, T. Justin Gillenwater, MD, MS, Haig Yenikomshian, MD.
Keck School of Medicine of USC, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Purpose: Few studies have evaluated psychosocial morbidity after burns or reconstructive surgery. The NIH Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROMIS) questionnaires were designed to assess social interactions and emotional management with results available for the general population (GP). We used these questionnaires to evaluate psychosocial morbidity in burn and reconstructive patients. Methods: Burn and reconstructive adult patients were surveyed during outpatient follow-up at an urban safety net hospital. Age, ethnicity, economic environment, employment, marital status, hospital length of stay (LOS), and number of surgeries were obtained from chart review. Burn and reconstructive patients were compared to each other and the GP for social interaction and emotional management. Analysis used t-tests and univariate regressions controlling for sociodemographic variables. Results: 70 burn and 40 reconstructive patients completed surveys. Burn and reconstructive patients had equivalent emotional management to the GP. Reconstructive patients had impaired social interactions compared to burn patients and the GP (p < 0.05). Increasing age (p < 0.05) or partnership (marriage or domestic, p < 0.01) were associated with better social interactions for reconstructive patients. Surprisingly, ethnicity, economic environment, employment, LOS, and number of surgeries did not impact either social interactions or emotional management. Conclusions: Burn survivors receive more predictable psychosocial support via established programs, which may result in fewer psychosocial morbidities after hospitalization. Plastic surgery patients with this support through social networks or partnerships appear to function similarly well to the general population. We conclude, younger, single, reconstructive patients would benefit from structured psychosocial support to maintain mental wellbeing during recovery.


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