Journal of Surgical Simulation 2021; 8: A: 2 - 2

Published: 30 June 2021


Meeting abstract

Special Issue: Microsurgery for medical students: the impact of high-fidelity microsurgery simulation for undergraduates

Manal Patel
Corresponding author: Manal Patel, University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK. Email:


To combat common misconceptions amongst medical students regarding the important role of plastic surgeons in reconstructive surgery, our aim was to evaluate whether simulation in reconstructive microsurgery would influence students’ perception of plastic surgery.

A nationally-accredited 'Microsurgery Symposium' was held at the University of Cambridge in 2019. One day of interactive seminars and surgical simulation was organised, including microsurgical vessel anastomosis held in the departmental microsurgery-lab, fitted with bench microscopes. Pre- and post-session questionnaires assessed student’s main motivation for attendance, knowledge of and interest in plastic surgery careers, past experience of microsurgery and confidence in suturing-ability.

Delegates’ main motivation to attend was to achieve more ‘hands-on’ surgical-experience (83%, n=10) with a majority wanting to specifically learn about plastic surgery (67%, n=8). Delegates indicated they had little previous experience in microsurgery. The symposium was well received: all respondents (100%, n=11) stating they had gained valuable practical skills. On paired t-test analysis of responses, confidence in suturing-ability, measured on a 5-point Likert-scale, showed significant improvement from pre-session suturing confidence (M=3.09, SD=0.51) to post-session confidence (M=3.91,SD=0.51, P<0.05). Self-scoring of knowledge of plastic surgery careers showed statistically significant improvement from 3.00 to 4.09 at the course end (P<0.05). All stated they would recommend the symposium to peers with 73% (n=8) expressing strong-interest in attending further surgical simulation.

Our data finds an unmet appetite for undergraduate plastic surgery teaching. We find a statistically-significant increase in students’ knowledge of plastic surgery and confidence in suturing ability following high-fidelity simulation training in microsurgical techniques.


reconstructive surgery; microsurgery; plastic surgery; medical student; surgical training

Additional Information

This presentation was given at the SES 2020 online conference, 4 July 2020.