Facial trauma education within two English medical schools

Published:December 10, 2021DOI:


      Facial trauma accounts for 5%-10% of all presentations to emergency departments (ED) in the UK, and it is often referred to the oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) department by ED physicians. Undergraduate medical students often have limited exposure to OMFS, and this is likely to translate to reduced exposure to facial trauma. We investigated the exposure of undergraduate clinical medical students to facial trauma teaching and asked about their confidence to manage facial lacerations and their ability to diagnose common facial fractures. An online survey was completed by 237 medical students across two English universities, 154 (65%) from University A and 83 (35%) from University B. Of the students, 68% reported no exposure to any teaching in facial trauma up to their current year of medical school; no statistically significant differences were found among the year groups (p>0.05). The majority of facial fractures within our cohort were referred to ear, nose and throat (ENT) (43%), followed by OMFS (31%), and plastic surgery (12%). In total, 84% of students did not feel competent to manage facial lacerations, and 95% were not confident to present a facial injuries examination to a senior colleague. Exposure to facial trauma teaching remains poor. Future work should aim to devise a clear OMFS curriculum with objective teaching on facial trauma.


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