Austin-Weston: Project on Plastic Surgery

Middle School Project: Q&A With Dr. Knotts

To whomever it may concern,

Hello, I am a 6th grade middle school student from Quincy, Michigan. My class is currently doing a research project on a career that interests me. I am doing mine on plastic surgery.

One of the requirements is that we have an outside mentor that can help us with questions we have. I was wondering if you would be willing to help me out.

Here are a few questions I have as I am getting started.

  • Do you think you get paid enough for what you do?
  • Do you get paid more for different operations?
  • How hard is it to be a plastic surgeon?
  • Why did you become a plastic surgeon?

Thanks you in advance for your help.


Michael D
6th Grade

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the email.

See below for the answers to your questions:

  • Do you think you get paid enough for what you do?

Yes, all doctors get paid pretty well and make a good living.

  • Do you get paid more for different operations?

The big difference in payments is for cosmetic versus insurance-based surgery. An example of a cosmetic operation is a rhinoplasty, or nose job. These are considered cosmetic because the chief goal is to make the nose look better, and health insurance does not cover that procedure. Cosmetic procedures usually make more money for the doctor. An example of an insurance-based surgery would be sewing up someone’s face in the Emergency Room. While the doctor does get paid some for this procedure, it’s generally less. This is because some of the money also goes to the hospital and to the insurance company.

  • How hard is it to be a plastic surgeon?

Plastic surgeons must complete high school, 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and then 6 years of residency. This is the shortest route. There are other longer residencies and some people spend more time in college, but the fastest track is the one outlined above. In general, becoming a doctor is hard because of the amount of school required. A plastic surgeon is probably a little harder than some other specialties currently because the job is in high demand and thus more competitive to get accepted into plastic surgery residency. That being said, anyone that wants to be a plastic surgeon can do it. Sometimes it takes a little longer or a little more work, but it is doable.

  • Why did you become a plastic surgeon?

I became a doctor to help people and because of the mental challenge associated with a field where one can’t possibly know everything. I chose surgery because I like to use my hands to fix things. And I chose plastic surgery because my patients WANT TO have surgery, which is nice because they are excited to have procedures. Plastic surgery also involves a fair amount of artistic ability and I grew up always drawing, painting and being creative so it was a natural fit.

Good luck on your report!


Leave a Comment