PURPOSE: Adequate access to subspecialty care is of concern to patients and physicians alike. One measure of availability is the wait time for cosmetic procedures. The authors investigated geographical differences in wait times for cosmetic upper eyelid blepharoplasty of American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery members across the country.
METHODS: This study surveyed all 533 American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery members' practices in the United States based on the publically available contact information (www.asoprs.org). Scripted telephone calls were made requesting self-referred cosmetic upper eyelid blepharoplasty. Wait times until the first available appointment and time until the first available surgery date were collected.
RESULTS: Of the membership, 387 (72.6% response rate) respondents offered appointments for cosmetic upper eyelid blepharoplasty. Overall, 84.2% of respondents were male. Practice breakdown was 83.4% in private practice and 16.5% in academic practice. Median wait time until the next available appointment was 14 days (mean 21.2 days, 0-205 days; p = 0.145). Private practice wait time was shorter than academic (median 14 vs. 18 days, mean 19.7 vs. 28.9 days; p =0.004). However, there was wide variability based on region.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients seeking cosmetic upper eyelid blepharoplasty have good access to care by American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery members. There are variabilities based on academic versus private practice. Further study can evaluate whether similar findings exist for medically necessary functional procedures. This information may help assess the need for additional practitioners.