Plastic surgery in the Norwegian undergraduate medical curriculum: students’ knowledge and attitudes. A nationwide case-control study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: Changes in medical education have resulted in less available time for plastic surgery, which might jeopardise the availability of plastic surgery for patients. The aims of this study were to investigate the level of knowledge within and attitudes towards plastic surgery among medical students, and find predictors for a wish to pursue a career in plastic surgery. Methods: A previously used questionnaire was sent to all clinical medical students. Law students were used as a control group. Results: Thirty per cent of all clinical medical students in the country responded. The majority of students considered education in plastic surgery valuable/very valuable and 23% were considering it as a career. Nonetheless, about half of the students were unaware of the plastic surgical education at their faculty and reported non-academic sources of learning. Only 44% of medical students were able to name five common plastic surgical procedures and 8% were unable to name any. Law students were superior to medical students in the task (p = 0.005). Forty-two per cent of medical students were successful in indicating on which body parts plastic surgeons operate, whereas law students were less successful (p = 0.001). Male gender and positive valuing of clinical attachment could predict a wish for a career in plastic surgery. Conclusion: In some aspects, medical students are only as knowledgeable as their non-medical peers. These results call for higher quality plastic surgery teaching, to secure referral of the correct patients and successful specialist recruitment to plastic surgery.


External organisations
  • University of Bergen
  • Haukeland University Hospital
  • University Hospital of North Norway
  • St. Olav’s University Hospital
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Medical Sciences


  • Attitudes, education, knowledge, plastic surgery, recruitment, training, undergraduate
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-142
JournalJournal of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery
Issue number2
Early online date2016 Jul 8
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch