Do General Surgery Residents Begin Specializing Before Fellowship? A Multi-Institutional Study from the US ROPE Consortium.
Journal of the American College of Surgeons
BACKGROUND: Single-center data suggest that general surgery residents perform more cases related to their future fellowship compared with their peers. This study aimed to determine whether this experience was true for residents across multiple programs.
STUDY DESIGN: Data from graduates of 18 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited general surgery residency programs in the US Resident OPerative Experience (ROPE) Consortium were analyzed. Residents were categorized as entering 1 of 12 fellowships or entering directly into general surgery practice. Case log operative domains were mapped to each fellowship, and analyses were performed between groups.
RESULTS: Of 1,192 graduated general surgery residents, 955 (80%) pursued fellowship training whereas 235 (20%) went directly into general surgery practice. The top 3 fellowships pursued were trauma/surgical critical care (18%), vascular surgery (13%), and minimally invasive surgery (12%). Residents entering minimally invasive surgery performed the most total cases, whereas residents pursuing breast performed the least (1,209 [1,056-1,325] vs 1,091 [1,006-1,171], p < 0.01). For each fellowship type, graduates completed more total fellowship-specific cases in their future specialty compared with their peers (all p < 0.05). This association was observed for all 12 fellowships at the surgeon chief level (all p < 0.05) and for 10 of 12 fellowships at the surgeon junior level (all p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: General surgery residents perform more cases related to their future specialty choice compared with their peers. These data suggest that the specialization process begins during residency. This tendency among residents should be considered as general surgery residency undergoes structural redesign in the future.
Woeste MR, Salyer CE, Hammaker AC, Dodwad SJ, Foote DC, Nahmias JT, et al. Do general surgery residents begin specializing before fellowship? a multi-institutional study from the US ROPE Consortium. J Am Coll Surg. 2022 Nov 1;235(5):799-808. doi: 10.1097/XCS.0000000000000311. PMID: 36102575.