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Plastic Surgery International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9458741, 9 pages
Research Article

Plastic Surgery Inclusion in the Undergraduate Medical Curriculum: Perception, Challenges, and Career Choice—A Comparative Study

1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, The Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS, Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BB, UK
2Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Chancellor Drive, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
3Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2GW, UK

Correspondence should be addressed to M. Farid

Received 21 February 2017; Accepted 6 April 2017; Published 23 May 2017

Academic Editor: Bishara Atiyeh

Copyright © 2017 M. Farid et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. The undergraduate medical curriculum has been overcrowded with core learning outcomes with no formal exposure to plastic surgery. The aim of this study was to compare medical students from two educational settings for the basic understanding, preferred learning method, and factors influencing a career choice in plastic surgery. Design and Setting. A prospective cohort study based on a web-based anonymous questionnaire sent to final year medical students at Birmingham University (United Kingdom), McGill University (Canada), and a control group (non-medical staff). The questions were about plastic surgery: (1) source of information and basic understanding; (2) undergraduate curriculum inclusion and preferred learning methods; (3) factors influencing a career choice. A similar questionnaire was sent to non-medical staff (control group). The data was analysed based on categorical outcomes (Chi-square χ2) and level of significance . Results. Questionnaire was analysed for 243 students (Birmingham, , 52%) (McGill , 54%). Birmingham students (14%) considered the word “plastic” synonymous with “cosmetic” more than McGill students (4%, ). Teaching was the main source of knowledge for McGill students (39%, ) while Birmingham students and control group chose the media (70%, ). McGill students (67%) more than Birmingham (49%, ) considered curriculum inclusion. The preferred learning method was lectures for McGill students (61%, ) but an optional module for Birmingham (61%). A similar proportion (18%) from both student groups considered a career in plastic surgery. Conclusions. Medical students recognised the need for plastic surgery inclusion in the undergraduate curriculum. There was a difference for plastic surgery source of information, operations, and preferred method of learning for students. The study highlighted the urgent need to reform plastic surgery undergraduate teaching in collaboration with national educational bodies worldwide.