Background: Dwindling operative opportunities in trauma care may have a detrimental impact on career satisfaction among trauma surgeons and on career attractiveness to surgical trainees. Addition of emergency general surgery may alleviate some of these concerns.
Study design: The trauma service at our institution incorporated nontrauma emergency general surgery over a 3-year period. The institution's trauma registry and hospital perioperative database were queried. The changes in operative caseload are described. Current trauma faculty anonymously completed a Web-based questionnaire about the addition of emergency general surgery to the trauma service.
Results: Operations for trauma decreased in 2002 compared with 1999, despite a higher number of penetrating injuries and total trauma contacts. Nontrauma general surgery operations performed by trauma faculty increased in proportion to coverage provided by the trauma service. In 2002, 57% of all cases performed by trauma surgeons were emergency general surgery, which accounted for 32% to 74% of an individual surgeon's caseload. In anonymously completed Web-based questionnaires, current trauma faculty expressed satisfaction with the combined trauma and emergency general surgery model.
Conclusions: The combined trauma and nontrauma surgery service increased operative caseloads and improved satisfaction of trauma surgeons. A comprehensive trauma and emergency general surgery service may be an attractive model for the future of trauma surgery and provide logistical and medical advantages to the emergency general surgery patient population.