Case distributions in general surgery residency: Subspecialization occurs before fellowship

Andrea R. Marcadis, Tanya Spencer, Danny Sleeman, Omaida C. Velazquez, John I. Lew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: In the era of subspecialization and duty-hour restrictions, many General Surgery residents desire additional training in their future subspecialty areas. This study examines the relationship between case distributions performed by General Surgery residents and their chosen future subspecialty. Methods: A retrospective review of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education case logs of 101 graduated General Surgery residents at a single academic institution (2002–2018) was performed. The total number of operative cases performed during General Surgery residency overall and in Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–defined categories were compared between residents with differing areas of future subspecialization. Results: Residents pursuing surgical fellowships in Endocrine, Cardiothoracic, Vascular, and Trauma/Critical Care Surgery logged respectively more endocrine (63 [11] vs 32 [13]; P < .001), thoracic (61 [15] vs 41 [13]; P < .001), vascular (225 [38] vs 162 [38]; P < .001), and operative trauma (83 [29] vs 71 [25]; P = .045) cases, compared with program average. Residents pursuing General Surgery (no fellowship) performed significantly more endoscopies (131 [47] vs 105 [28]; P = .029) than peers. Residents pursuing Breast, Oncology, Colorectal, and Pediatric Surgery fellowships performed numerically (non-significantly) more breast (94 [16] vs 78 [20]; P = .180), liver/pancreas (39 [3.1] vs 33 [8.0]; P = .173), large intestinal (132 [30] vs 125 [24]; P = .507), and pediatric (173 [27] vs 155 [37]; P = .832) cases, respectively, compared with peers. The majority of these additional cases were performed in postgraduate years 3 to 5. Conclusion: In this single-institution study, many General Surgery residents perform more cases than peers in respective areas of future subspecialization. This may reflect residents at the reporting institution, and similar large, university-based programs seeking focused training in preparation for fellowship while still meeting case-volume minimums in all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–defined categories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-723
Number of pages7
JournalSurgery (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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