A Multi-site Cross-Sectional Survey Exploring Medical Undergraduate Knowledge of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

  • Katherine HarrisEmail author
  • Christopher Jefferies
Original Article



To evaluate medical student exposure to OMFS and knowledge of which clinical cases are appropriate to refer to the OMFS surgeon and the academic requirements to pursue a career in OMFS.


The investigators designed and distributed a cross-sectional survey to a cohort of current UK medical students. The primary outcome was medical student knowledge of the role of the OMFS, which was measured by their ability to correctly identify which cases were appropriate to refer to OMFS. Secondary outcomes included: identifying the proportion of students exposed to OMFS and the nature of this exposure; identifying student knowledge of the requirements to commence OMFS speciality training; and comparing knowledge of OMFS in those exposed to OMFS at medical school and those not exposed. The investigators hypothesised that undergraduates exposed to OMFS would have a greater understanding of the role of the OMFS and the requirements to pursue this speciality.


Of the 299 participants included in this study, 77.4% (230) had no exposure to OMFS at medical school. Overall, the students exposed to OMFS at medical school performed superiorly (mdn = 13) to the OMFS-naïve students (mdn = 13), z-score = 2.185, p = 0.03, in correctly identifying cases to refer to an OMFS surgeon. They also were more likely to correctly identify the requirement of core surgical training (CST) (p = 0.04, χ2 = 4.182) and membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (p = 0.02, χ2 = 9.879) as needed to begin OMFS speciality training.


Exposure to OMFS is still limited within the medical undergraduate curriculum, and this is reflected in poor knowledge of OMFS. An increase in the amount of contact with OMFS at an undergraduate level would not only help create greater interest in OMFS as a career but would help doctors of all specialities when exposed to OMFS.


Oral and maxillofacial surgery Education Undergraduate study Medical school 



The authors would like to thank Laura Sandland-Taylor on her collaboration with this work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval was sought and granted on by the Hull York Medical School Ethics Committee (ref 1812) in April 2018.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of India 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hull York Medical SchoolOakworthUK
  2. 2.LondonUK

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