Junior residents getting less exposure to general surgery, study finds

The growing popularity of minimally invasive surgery and accompanied decline in open procedures means junior residents are getting less exposure to some common general surgery procedures, according to a study published by the Journal of Surgical Education.

The study examined more than 185,000 surgical cases from 2005 to 2012. Over the study period, two-thirds of the surgeries analyzed were minimally invasive, and junior resident participation in all procedures declined 5.3 percent each year on average. Junior residents were defined as those within their first three years of residency.

Junior resident participation in open surgeries decreased most during the study period for appendectomies (9.4 percent), followed by inguinal herniorrhaphies (10 percent), cholecystectomies (4.9 percent) and partial colectomies (2.9 percent).

The authors wrote that the increase in laparoscopic procedures has not spurred a redistribution of basic surgeries from senior to junior residents. This decline in junior resident experience could have significant implications for resident education, they wrote.


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