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A National Study Assessing Medical Student Knowledge of Plastic Surgery

Russell E. Kling; Harry S. Nayar; Michael O. Harhay; Patrick I. Emelife; Ernest K. Manders, Naveen K. Ahuja
University of Pittsburgh, Department of Plastic Surgery

Presenter: Russell E Kling

The material proposed for presentation in this abstract has not been published in any scientific journal or previously presented at a major meeting. The abstract is the exclusive work of the aforementioned co-authors.

Director Name: Dr. Joseph E Losee, MD

Author Category: Medical Student
Presentation Category: Clinical
Abstract Category: General Reconstruction

Introduction: Medical students routinely express surprise at the scope of plastic surgery. It is imperative that medical students are exposed to plastic surgery early in their medical schooling, both to attract the best and brightest to our field and to educate the next generation of referring physicians about what we do and how we do it.

Methods: An electronic survey asked pre-clinical medical students to determine whether or not they think that specific procedures are performed by plastic surgeons in practice. The survey format reflected the plastic surgery in-service exam topics including general reconstruction, craniomaxillofacial, aesthetic, and hand and lower extremity.

Results: 2,434 questionnaires from 44 medical schools were returned completed. A majority of respondents answered affirmatively to all aesthetic procedure questions, and to 9 of 11 general plastic surgery questions. However, only half of the craniomaxillofacial surgery questions were answered affirmatively by a majority of respondents. Finally, a majority answered 2 of 13 hand and lower extremity procedures questions affirmatively. There was a strong linear relationship with self-reported interest in plastic surgery (1=no interest, 10=highest interest) and knowledge score. Compared to those who identified an interest level of 1, those who chose 8, 9 and 10 scored, on average, 6.2, 8.0 and 12.7 points higher on the overall knowledge score (p<0.01).

Conclusion: Responding pre-clinical medical students are not fully aware of the scope of plastic surgery. The authors conclude that pre-clinical education of medical students would impact positively on the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Author Contact Information:
Russell Kling
515 South Aiken
Apt 316
Pittsburgh, PA


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