Needs assessment for a focused radiology curriculum in surgical residency: a multicenter study

Am J Surg. 2016 Jan;211(1):279-87. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2015.05.027. Epub 2015 Aug 5.


Background: Patient instability and limited radiology staffing may compel surgeons to make clinical decisions based on their independent interpretations of imaging studies. Despite potential implications for patients, no research to date has assessed the need for a diagnostic radiology curriculum in general surgery residency.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of surgery faculty and residents at 13 teaching hospitals across the United States. Survey responses were summarized using frequency and percentage, and analyzed by chi-square, Mantel-Haenszel chi-square, and McNemar tests.

Results: Surveys were distributed to 465 faculty and 520 residents, with response rates of 26% and 30%, respectively. Most respondents reported making decisions based on their independent imaging interpretation at least sometimes, with higher frequency in acute scenarios. The majority voiced a need for a dedicated radiology curriculum, with teaching in chest x-rays, abdominal x-rays, abdominal computed tomography, chest computed tomography, and focused assessment with sonography in trauma examinations.

Conclusions: Surgeons and surgical residents enact treatment plans based on their independent interpretation of imaging studies, especially during acute patient scenarios. Further curricular development efforts are warranted to ensure trainee accuracy in radiologic interpretation.

Keywords: Curricular design; General surgery residency; Radiology; Resident education.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Curriculum*
  • Faculty, Medical
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / methods*
  • Needs Assessment
  • Radiology / education*
  • Students, Medical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States