Crowdsourcing in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: A Systematic Review with Reporting Recommendations

Dillan F. Villavisanis, Jessica D. Blum, Liana Cheung, Daniel Y. Cho, Scott P. Bartlett, Jordan W. Swanson, Jesse A. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Crowdsourcing uses online platforms to collect large data from laypersons and has been increasingly used over the past 5 years to answer questions about aesthetic and functional outcomes following plastic and reconstructive surgery. This systematic review evaluates crowdsourcing articles in plastic and reconstructive surgery based on study topic, participants, and effect size in the hopes of describing best practices. Methods: A systematic search strategy was developed with a licensed librarian and attending plastic surgeon to query all articles using crowdsourcing in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Covidence systematic review manager was used by two independent reviewers to import articles, screen abstracts, evaluate full texts, and extract data. Results: A search run on October 8, 2021, yielded 168 studies, of which 45 were ultimately included. Craniofacial surgery and aesthetic surgery collectively constituted over half of studies. Participants in plastic surgery crowdsourcing studies are more commonly from the United States, female, straight, 25 to 35 years old; have completed college; and earn $20,000 to $50,000 per year. Studies typically assessed aesthetic perceptions, cost approximately $350, ran a median of 9 days, included approximately 60 unique survey items, and included approximately 40 unique human images. Conclusions: Crowdsourcing is a relatively new, low-cost method of garnering high-volume data from laypersons that may further our understanding of public perception in plastic and reconstructive surgery. As with other nascent fields, there is significant variability in number of subjects used, subject compensation, and methodology, indicating an opportunity for quality improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166E-187E
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


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