Operative Reports in Orthopaedic Surgery: The Need for Assessment and Education

Niall A. Smyth, Karim G. Sabeh, Karthik Meiyappan, Sheila A. Conway, Seth D. Dodds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The ability to complete an operative report is a vital skill for an orthopaedic surgeon. We hypothesized that most programs do not have formal operative report teaching, that resident operative reports at our institution are incomplete, and that a formal teaching program would improve operative reports. METHODS: A survey of residencies in the United States was conducted assessing the state of operative report education. In addition, resident operative reports were collected at our institution both pre and post a formal educational session. Scores were given for each report out of a possible 35 points. RESULTS: Total 54 institutions responded to the survey, of which 83% indicated that they had no formal resident operative report teaching. Within our institution, 100 resident operative dictations were assessed prior to instituting a formal education session, with a mean score of 24.5. The most commonly missed items in the report were preoperative antibiotics, deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis, and tourniquet time. The mean score of 100 resident operative dictations following the educational session improved to 31.8. CONCLUSION: Most residency programs do not conduct formal resident operative report teaching. Formal instruction on how to complete a comprehensive operative report resulted in a significant improvement in their quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Education
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Operative report
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Resident

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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