The creation of a four year structured post-graduate training program in Plastic Surgery.


The School of Medical Sciences, USM, was established in 1979 to train undergraduate medical doctors. This evolved into developing post-graduate training in Medicine, which begun in 1987. Presently there are more than fifteen specialty post graduate training programmes being conducted by The School of Medical Sciences, USM.

In the year of 2000, there were only 33 Plastic Surgeons to provide for the Plastic Surgical care and needs of our 22 million Malaysian population. The training of Plastic Surgeons was originally based on an apprenticeship of three years after a general surgical fellowship or Masters in Surgery qualification. There has been an acute shortage and long-term deficit of trained Plastic surgeons in Malaysia. In 2000 there was a deficit of 147 plastic surgeons and by the year 2002 this increased to 340.

The School of Medical Sciences USM, in collaboration of the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, was given the task to start a training program in Plastic Surgery. A structured training programme, Masters of Surgery (Plastic Surgery), was proposed and approved. The M.S. (Plastic Surgery) programme commenced in July 2001.

Structure of course (Appendix I)

The training is divided into 3 phases.

  • Phase I (year 1): Basic surgical sciences and basic topics in plastic surgery
  • Phase II (year 2 & 3): Plastic surgical trainee
  • Phase III (year 4): Specialist in training
  1. Curriculum structure phase I

    The curriculum is divided into 2 parts.  (Appendix II)
    a. Basic surgical sciences
    b. Basic principles of plastic surgery

    Phase Year Curriculum and Training Place Assessment
    I 1 – Basic surgical sciences
    – Basic principles in plastic surgery
    – Clinical responsibility at plastic surgical services
    – Log book
    – Continuous supervisor assessment
    – Professional examination I
  2. Curriculum structure phase II (specialty trainee in plastic surgery)
    Phase Year Curriculum and Training Place Assessment
    II 2&3 – Clinical responsibilities in plastic surgical services
    – Cases reports
    – Log book
    – Dissertation (starting in year 2)
    – Learning of plastic surgical topic in packages. (A series of seminars will be organized twice annually)
    – Research activities, CPC and attending conferences
    – Elective posting for 6 months (external training center )
    – Continuous supervisor assessment
    – Annual viva-voce examination
  3. Curriculum structure phase III (Specialist in Training)
    Phase Year Curriculum and Training Place Assessment
    III 4 – Clinical responsibilities in plastic surgical services
    – Learning of plastic surgical topic in packages. (continuation of phase II)
    – Log book
    – Case report
    – Professional examination II

Mode of Teaching and Learning

Various modes will be used to achieve effective learning objectives.

  • Notes, articles, references and audiovisual material will be prepared together with candidates.
  • Lectures and seminar will be given in packages to cover the whole syllabus of plastic surgery.
  • Candidate will be actively involved in clinical activities including clinics, ward management, preparation, planning and executing operative procedures, post operative care and on-call duties in plastic surgery.
  • Preparation of case reports, a total of 8 case reports.
  • Actively participating in academic and research activities.
  • Writing up of dissertation. The title must be specific. The length is about 15,000 words.

Supervision and progress reports

The medical school will appoint a qualified plastic surgeon to be a supervisor for each candidate.  The supervisor is responsible for the progress report of the candidate.

Examination and Assessment

Assessment during the course is divided into 2 parts

  • Continuous assessment
  • Examination (annual and end-phase examinations)
  1. Phase I assessment

    Continuous assessment
    a. coursework
    b. supervisor report
    c. case reports

    Professional examination I….…….100%
    MCQ……………………. 30%
    MEQ……………………. 30%
    OSCE…………………… 40%

  2. Phase II and III (year 2, 3 & 4)

    Continuous Assessment
    a. log book
    b. supervisor report
    c. annual viva-voce examination in year 2 and 3
    Passing this component of phase II assessment is a prerequisite for admission to Phase III.

    Professional examination (end of year 4)

    Theory: Essay/MEQ………………………40%
    Clinical: …………………………………….60%
    Long case (20%)
    Short case (10%)
    Viva (30%)

    Repeat examination
    Failing the professional examination, the candidate may appear in the examination after 6 months or 1 year upon approval of the University senate.


Microsurgical and Flap Course

As part of our Plastic Surgical training programme, we conduct a Microsurgical course and Flap Dissection course annually for our Masters students. The courses are the result of collaboration between the various training institutes and medical devices companies. We often invite overseas Plastic Surgeons to complement our local faculty, to conduct these courses for benefit of the participants.

Flap Course
Microsurgery Workshop