Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery
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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 43  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 195--197

An Internet-based discussion forum as a useful resource for the discussion of clinical cases and an educational tool

1 Department of Plastic Surgery and Burns, New Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Mindelsohn Way, Birmingham, B15 2WB, United Kingdom
2 University Hospitals South Manchester, Southmoor Road, Manchester, M23 2 LT, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Deborah P.S Foong
Department of Plastic Surgery and Burns, New Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Mindelsohn Way, Birmingham, B15 2WB
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-0358.73448

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Introduction: An Internet-based group of plastic surgeons was formed in India in February 2001. It has 1290 members and seeks to facilitate online discussion. These discussions were reviewed to assess their value in education and aiding patient management. Materials and Methods: All messages and discussions between August 2007 and July 2008 were examined retrospectively. Data were collected regarding topics, replies, and use of clinical images. Results: A total of 2217 messages were exchanged within 330 separate discussions (mean = 6.7 messages per discussion, range = 0-45). A total of 164 discussions contained photographs (50%). Mean number of photographs per discussion was five (range = 0-34). Discussions included requests for advice on complex cases (40%), interesting cases and their management/outcome (25%) and courses/conferences (30%). Topics discussed include training/courses (26.7%), cleft (15.4%), aesthetics (13.1%), trauma (12.5%), head and neck (8.4%), cutaneous (6.4%), perineal/genital reconstruction (6.1%), and scar management (4.7%). Discussion: Forums like this facilitate discussion between individuals in remote locations. They provide easy access to the expertise of a large cohort of highly experienced surgeons. Most discussions were clinical, involving challenging situations. The discussions are open and nonjudgmental, hence encouraging contribution and healthy debate. We encourage its use as an educational tool and a platform for discussion.


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