Facial plast Surg 2002; 18(2): 087-094
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-32198
Copyright © 2002 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA. Tel.: +1(212) 584-4662

Statistical Inference in Facial Plastic Surgery: Perspectives and Alternatives

Christopher S. Hollenbeak1, 2 , Thomas S. Wasser2 , Robert X. Murphy, Jr.3 , Lawrence C. Kleinman2 , Brendan C. Stack, Jr.4
  • 1Departments of Surgery and Health Evaluation Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
  • 2Health Studies Unit, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, PA
  • 3Department of Surgery, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, PA
  • 4Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
13 June 2002 (online)


Facial plastic surgeons often must make decisions with imperfect information. Statistical inference is fundamentally the practice of using data to draw conclusions about uncertain phenomena. It is important, therefore, that facial plastic surgeons engaged both in clinical practice and in research have an understanding of statistical concepts to conduct research with results that are meaningful, to assess the validity of published research, and to adopt the most effective techniques and treatments. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of classical statistical methods that are encountered frequently in facial plastic surgery research, discuss issues of interpretation of results, and introduce an alternative paradigm for conducting statistical inference.