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Plastic and Maxillofacial Training for War-Zones - A Systematic Review.

STUDY DESIGN: Injuries sustained in war-zones are variable and constantly developing according to the nature of the ongoing conflict. Soft tissue involvement of the extremities, head and neck often necessitates reconstructive expertise. However, current training to manage injuries in such settings is heterogenous. This study involves a systematic review.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate interventions in place to train Plastic and Maxillofacial surgeons for war-zone environments so that limitations to current training can be addressed.

METHODS: A literature search of Medline and EMBase was performed using terms relevant to Plastic and Maxillofacial surgery training and war-zone environments. Articles that met the inclusion criteria were scored then educational interventions described in included literature were categorised according to their length, delivery style and training environment. Between-group ANOVA was performed to compare training strategies.

RESULTS: 2055 citations were identified through this literature search. Thirty-three studies were included in this analysis. The highest scoring interventions were over an extended time-frame with an action-oriented training approach, using simulation or actual patients. Core competencies addressed by these strategies included technical and non-technical skills necessary when working in war-zone type settings.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgical rotations in trauma centers and areas of civil strife, together with didactic courses are valuable strategies to train surgeons for war-zones. These opportunities must be readily available globally and be targeted to the surgical needs of the local population, anticipating the types of combat injuries that often occur in these environments.

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