Medical and surgical fields continue to be marred by gender disparities. The “leaky pipeline” effect, representing a gradual decline in female representation along the academic ladder, has been well documented in plastic surgery. However, gender differences in abstract presentation at national plastic surgery meetings and subsequent publications remains elusive.
We reviewed abstracts presented at the 2014 and 2015 annual meetings of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS); American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), and the Plastic Surgery Research Council (PSRC). Several abstract characteristics including the names of the first and last authors were extracted. and Google search were used to identify the authors’ gender.
We identified 1174 abstracts presented at the three identified meetings. Females comprised 29% of the presenters and 16% of abstract senior authors (ASAs). No gender differences were identified between the meetings, type of presentation (oral versus poster), and year of presentation. The only difference was in the subspecialty of the abstracts. Successful conversion to full-text articles was similar for male and female presenters (68% versus 62%, P = 0.065) but higher for male ASAs (68% versus 59%, P = 0.01). When an author change occurred, female presenters and ASAs were more likely to be replaced by males (P < 0.001).
Gender differences continue to be evident in academic plastic surgery with women constituting a minority of both presenters and senior authors on abstracts presented at national plastic surgery meetings. Future work should assess whether flexible and supportive work policies can foster greater female representation in academic plastic surgery.

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