The surgeon-performed ultrasound: a curriculum to improve residents' basic ultrasound knowledge

J Surg Res. 2017 Jun 1;213:51-59. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2017.02.031. Epub 2017 Feb 27.


Background: Despite the development of ultrasound courses by the American College of Surgeons two decades ago, many residencies lack formal ultrasound training. The aim of this study was to assess the previous ultrasound experience of residents and the efficacy of a new ultrasound curriculum by comparing pre- and post-course tests.

Methods: A pre-course survey and test were sent to all residents at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Pre-interns and junior residents received a didactic lecture on ultrasound basics and the extended focused assessment with sonography for trauma and were given hands-on practice. Finally, a post-course test and survey were sent to the pre-interns and junior residents.

Results: Only 11.3% of the residents reported having previous exposure to a formal ultrasound curriculum, and only 12.7% were taught by faculty. On the pre-course test, there was no difference in performance among senior residents, junior residents, and pre-interns (P = 0.114). After taking the course, the pre-interns improved their performance, and their average increased from 44.3% (standard deviation = 12.4%) to 66.1% (standard deviation = 12.2%; P < 0.001). The junior residents also had an improvement in their performance on the test after the course (P < 0.001). Junior residents performed better than pre-interns on the post-course test (P = 0.001).

Conclusions: The knowledge of surgical residents in ultrasound basics and extended focused assessment with sonography for trauma can be improved with the establishment of an ultrasound curriculum. We believe that such an educational endeavor should be encouraged by all surgical residencies.

Keywords: Extended focused assessment with sonography for trauma; Resident education; Surgery residents; Ultrasound basics; Ultrasound curriculum; Ultrasound image interpretation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / methods*
  • Ultrasonography*
  • United States