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Interest groups in plastic surgery: a strategy to improve knowledge and attitudes toward hot topics in plastic and reconstructive surgery

Lozada-Martinez, Ivan D. MSa,b; Caballero-Mieles, Rafael S. MDc; Carrillo-Moreno, Carlos I. MDd; Rosero-Morales, Catherine MDe; Behaine-Montes, Salim MDf; Rashid, Rubaya MPHg,

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International Journal of Surgery: Global Health: March 2022 - Volume 5 - Issue 2 - p e70
doi: 10.1097/GH9.0000000000000070
  • Open

Surgical research advances by leaps and bounds. The objectives of global surgery have recently been raised, some of them shared among the different subspecialties, such as disease burden control, access to specialized surgical services, registry and international collaborations design, as well as the improvement of the quality of the evidence currently available. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons through its official journal “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery”1, continuously publishes videos on the hot topics in the short-term and medium-term of this specialty, which need to be researched and disseminated in universities, international scientific societies, and health actors working in this field. Some of these hot topics highlighted during the year 2021 are: perception and recognition of prepectoral DTI breast reconstruction, prevention of complications after genioplasty, participation of African-American surgeons in social networks, education process for surgeons for the patenting of new techniques, among many others1.

However, although this is an innovative and dynamic initiative, it is not known what impact it has had on the international scientific community. Medical students, through social networks, are potential disseminators of scientific knowledge. Above all, they can be those who are interested in plastic surgery and wish to reinforce their specialized knowledge networks. A viable, low-cost strategy that goes hand in hand with the educational and professional process of undergraduate students in universities, are the medical interest groups2–4. These groups are academic and research collectives, generally created and maintained by medical students, under the mentorship of professors, residents, and specialists2. These groups specialize in a particular discipline, and through activities to develop technical, practical, theoretical, and scientific skills, deepen their field of interest, in order to increase the success rate of admission to a residency2–4.

Considering then, that evidence has shown that over time there is no substantial increase in favorable perception, adequate knowledge and positive interest of medical students in plastic and reconstructive surgery5,6, the creation of interest groups in plastic surgery is an excellent strategy to counteract these difficulties. Austin and Wanzel6 demonstrated that an increase in medical student exposure to plastic surgery during undergraduate training is a potential solution to low receptivity to the specialty6. In this order of ideas, the interest groups in plastic surgery would be an excellent strategy that would allow the incorporation of students from early stages of their career, without any kind of barriers.

In addition, this could strengthen knowledge in health sciences research methodology, epidemiology and scientific communication and publication7, which would encourage future plastic surgeons to do research, especially in low- and middle-income countries where there are great problems for timely access to specialized surgical services7. Jabaiti et al8 conducted a comparative study with the aim of investigating the results of specialized training of medical students on plastic surgery, finding that these students raised ideas and developed reliable knowledge about this field8. Similarly, Kidd et al9 conducted a survey among medical students on influences and perceptions about plastic surgery, showing that most of the students do not have reliable technical and theoretical knowledge, because they have not had close contact with quality literature, but from tertiary sources of information (tv, newspapers, etc.)9. Therefore, future plastic surgeons need to find a way to get closer to the evidence in plastic surgery, to be integrated in quality technical-scientific activities and to develop research on topics of interest in international plastic surgery. To this end, interest groups can serve as factories of academic plastic surgeons, facilitating the flow of information of the highest quality, participation in events of social appropriation and circulation of new knowledge and scientific production through scientific articles, book chapters or books resulting from research projects. This is a line of research of great interest from medical education, academic surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and global health, which should be constantly evaluated to know precisely the evolution of the solution of hot topics in plastic surgery, including the medical student.

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Sources of funding


Author contribution

All authors equally contributed to the analysis and writing of the manuscript.

Conflicts of interest disclosure

The authors declare that they have no financial conflict of interest with regard to the content of this report.

Research registration Unique Identifying number (UIN)



School of Health & Life Sciences, Northsouth University, Dhaka, Bangladesh (R. Rashid).


1. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery—Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Plastic surgery hot topics videos. 2022. Available at: Accessed January 20, 2022.
2. Domínguez-Alvarado G, Villar-Rincón K, Castillo-Miranda M, et al. A step-by-step guide to creating an academic surgery interest group: review article. Ann Med Surg (Lond) 2021;69:102688.
3. Miranda-Pacheco JA, De Santis-Tamara SA, Parra-Pinzón SL, et al. Medical interest groups and work policies as emerging determinants of a successful career: a student perspective—correspondence. Int J Surg 2021;92:106020.
4. Ortega-Sierra MG, Charry-Caicedo JI, Orrego-Torres AT, et al. Breaking down barriers to surgical learning in times of COVID-19: an initiative of future surgeons. Eur Surg 2021;53:259–60.
5. Fraser SJ, Al Youha S, Rasmussen PJ, et al. Medical student perception of plastic surgery and the impact of mainstream media. Plast Surg (Oakv) 2017;25:48–53.
6. Austin RE, Wanzel KR. Exposure to plastic surgery during undergraduate medical training: a single-institution review. Plast Surg (Oakv) 2015;23:43–7.
7. Llamas-Nieves A, Maiguel-Lapeira J, Lozada-Martinez I, et al. The desire to publish a scientific article and the difficulties of publishing it in a highquality neurosurgery scientific journal. J Neurosurg Sci 2021. [Epub ahead of print].
8. Jabaiti S, Hamdan-Mansour AM, Isleem UN, et al. Impact of plastic surgery medical training on medical students’ knowledge, attitudes, preferences, and perceived benefits: comparative study. J Public Health Res 2021;10:1927.
9. Kidd T, Palaniappan S, Kidd D, et al. Attitudes, influences and perceptions towards plastic surgery amongst medical students. JPRAS Open 2021;29:167–77.
Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of IJS Publishing Group Ltd.