INTRODUCTION To assess the impact of extracurricular activities in plastic surgery on the knowledge and practical skills of medical students at the Federal University of São Paulo.
METHODS: Six students participating in extracurricular activities and eight students who did not participate were randomly selected and evaluated before and after the program by using multiple-choice tests and a Surgical Skills Assessment (SSA) instrument to assess their practical skills.
RESULTS: The study group obtained higher scores in the theoretical tests, when the scores before starting the program (average, 15.8; standard deviation, 2.7) were compared with those received after their participation in extracurricular activities (average, 21.8; standard deviation, 1.3) (p = 0.02). Similar results were obtained with the SSA instrument for the period before the start of (average, 9.8; standard deviation, 1.4) and after (average, 13.5; standard deviation, 1.6) (p = 0.02) the program. The control group did not show significant changes in the scores received for theoretical tests when the period from August 2010 (average, 14.0; standard deviation, 4.1) to June 2011 (average, 13.8; standard deviation, 2.6) (p = 0.40) was evaluated. Similar results were obtained with the SSA instrument for the evaluation period between August 2010 (average, 8.5; standard deviation, 2.2) and June 2011 (average, 9.6; standard deviation, 1.7) (p = 0.18).
CONCLUSION: The students participating in extracurricular activities in plastic surgery at the Federal University of São Paulo improved their knowledge and acquired better practical skills compared with students who did not participate.
Keywords: Surgery; Plastic Surgery; Education; Teaching; Educational evaluation.