Outcomes Instruments in Facial Plastic Surgery
13 June 2002 (online)
The accurate measurement of patient-related outcomes of facial plastic surgery procedures relies upon the development, standardization, and use of validated, procedure-specific quality of life instruments. Although other fields of medicine and surgery have embraced the use of such instruments for the quantification and measurement of otherwise subjective or qualitative aspects of patient satisfaction, in the fields of both general and facial plastic surgery, little has been done in this realm. The study of outcomes research and the application of outcomes research to facial plastic surgery have already been discussed in this issue. Outcomes research is founded upon the ability to measure in some fashion those aspects of patient satisfaction that have hitherto been ignored or at best poorly quantified in the assessment of the results of a medical or surgical intervention. In facial plastic surgery, particularly cosmetic facial plastic surgery, the overwhelming majority of results are subjective in nature, be they patient related or based upon the surgeon's own personal assessment of outcome. For this reason, the use of validated instruments to quantify and measure these results is of particular importance in facial plastic surgery compared with other fields of medicine where many outcomes are objectively determined, such as mortality. This article outlines the background of the use of quality of life instruments in the field of outcomes research to provide a basic understanding for the application of such tools to the work of facial plastic surgery. Specific instruments that have already been developed and validated are described as well. Finally, future directions are highlighted that may allow the improved measurement of patient satisfaction as the field of outcomes research in facial plastic surgery continues to evolve.
Quality of life - outcomes research - quality of life instruments