Courses play an important role in surgical training and continuing development. In an increasingly competitive training environment they help demonstrate commitment to a specialty and increase technical skill. Aims To review educational maxillofacial courses available in the Europe, particularly the UK. This can demonstrate whether courses cover the full breath of the speciality, and accessibility depending on location, the time of year and cost.
Course information was collected retrospectively over 3 years including course title, location, target group, subspecialty and cost. Course details were collected via Maxillofacial Associations, Royal Colleges, deaneries and medical technology companies. Courses available locally only to trainees within specific deaneries were excluded.
145 courses were analysed. In the UK, courses were predominantly hands-on cancer courses (50%) followed by aesthetics (18%). Cleft, skin and salivary courses enveloped only 10% of UK courses; no TMJ or dentoalveolar courses were available. Mainland Europe included a wider variety of courses with craniofacial/orthognathic and cancer comprising the majority. However at least 4 courses were provided for all other subspecialties. Over 95% of courses were targeted at those trainees at St4 level or higher.
The UK lags behind the rest of Europe in variety of courses provided. The full breath of the speciality needs to be experienced by trainees if they are to make an informed decision over future career paths. Dentoalveloar and trauma courses should be made more available as they can attract more junior trainees and may benefit those from a ‘medicine first’ background.