Training in endocrine surgery

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2019 Dec;404(8):929-944. doi: 10.1007/s00423-019-01828-4. Epub 2019 Nov 7.


Background/purpose: In Europe, the Division of Endocrine Surgery (DES) determines the number of operations (thyroid, neck dissection, parathyroids, adrenals, neuroendocrine tumors of the gastro-entero-pancreatic tract (GEP-NETs)) to be required for the European Board of Surgery Qualification in (neck) endocrine surgery. However, it is the national surgical boards that determine how surgical training is delivered in their respective countries. There is a lack of knowledge on the current situation concerning the training of surgical residents and fellows with regard to (neck) endocrine surgery in Europe.

Methods: A survey was sent out to all 28 current national delegates of the DES. One questionnaire was addressing the training of surgical residents while the other was addressing the training of fellows in endocrine surgery. Particular focus was put on the numbers of operations considered appropriate.

Results: For most of the operations, the overall number as defined by national surgical boards matched quite well the views of the national delegates even though differences exist between countries. In addition, the current numbers required for the EBSQ exam are well within this range for thyroid and parathyroid procedures but below for neck dissections as well as operations on the adrenals and GEP-NETs.

Conclusions: Training in endocrine surgery should be performed in units that perform a minimum of 100 thyroid, 50 parathyroid, 15 adrenal, and/or 10 GEP-NET operations yearly. Fellows should be expected to have been the performing surgeon of a minimum of 50 thyroid operations, 10 (central or lateral) lymph node dissections, 15 parathyroid, 5 adrenal, and 5 GEP-NET operations.

Keywords: Endocrine; Fellow; Resident; Surgery; Training.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenalectomy / education
  • Adrenalectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Career Choice*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods*
  • Endocrine Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / methods*
  • Male
  • Parathyroidectomy / education
  • Parathyroidectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thyroidectomy / education
  • Thyroidectomy / statistics & numerical data