Assessing the experience in complex hepatopancreatobiliary surgery among graduating chief residents: Is the operative experience enough?

Teviah E. Sachs, Aslam Ejaz, Matthew J Weiss, Gaya Spolverato, Nita Ahuja, Martin A. Makary, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Kenzo Hirose, Timothy M. Pawlik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Introduction Resident operative autonomy and case volume is associated with posttraining confidence and practice plans. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requirements for graduating general surgery residents are four liver and three pancreas cases. We sought to evaluate trends in resident experience and autonomy for complex hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) surgery over time. Methods We queried the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education General Surgery Case Log (2003-2012) for all cases performed by graduating chief residents (GCR) relating to liver, pancreas, and the biliary tract (HPB); simple cholecystectomy was excluded. Mean (±SD), median [10th-90th percentiles] and maximum case volumes were compared from 2003 to 2012 using R2 for all trends. Results A total of 252,977 complex HPB cases (36% liver, 43% pancreas, 21% biliary) were performed by 10,288 GCR during the 10-year period examined (Mean = 24.6 per GCR). Of these, 57% were performed during the chief year, whereas 43% were performed as postgraduate year 1-4. Only 52% of liver cases were anatomic resections, whereas 71% of pancreas cases were major resections. Total number of cases increased from 22,516 (mean = 23.0) in 2003 to 27,191 (mean = 24.9) in 2012. During this same time period, the percentage of HPB cases that were performed during the chief year decreased by 7% (liver: 13%, pancreas 8%, biliary 4%). There was an increasing trend in the mean number of operations (mean ± SD) logged by GCR on the pancreas (9.1 ± 5.9 to 11.3 ± 4.3; R2 =.85) and liver (8.0 ± 5.9 to 9.4 ± 3.4; R2 =.91), whereas those for the biliary tract decreased (5.9 ± 2.5 to 3.8 ± 2.1; R2 =.96). Although the median number of cases [10th:90th percentile] increased slightly for both pancreas (7.0 [4.0:15] to 8.0 [4:20]) and liver (7.0 [4:13] to 8.0 [5:14]), the maximum number of cases preformed by any given GCR remained stable for pancreas (51 to 53; R2 =.18), but increased for liver (38 to 45; R2 =.32). The median number of HPB cases that GCR performed as teaching assistants (TAs) remained at zero during this time period. The 90th percentile of cases performed as TA was less than two for both pancreas and liver. Conclusion Roughly one-half of GCR have performed fewer than 10 cases in each of the liver, pancreas, or biliary categories at time of completion of residency. Although the mean number of complex liver and pancreatic operations performed by GCR increased slightly, the median number remained low, and the number of TA cases was virtually zero. Most GCR are unlikely to be prepared to perform complex HPB operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalSurgery (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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