The ups and downs of general surgery resident experience in endocrine surgery: Analysis of 30 years of ACGME graduate case logs

Surgery. 2020 Oct;168(4):586-593. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2020.07.007. Epub 2020 Aug 16.


Background: The aim of this study was to determine trends in the experience of general surgery residents with endocrine surgery cases.

Methods: American Association of Endocrine Surgeons national general surgery case logs from 1989 through 2019 were reviewed. The numbers of individuals completing residency and the mean and median number of endocrine surgery cases by type and by level of operating resident surgeon were abstracted from annual data and analyzed. Descriptive statistics and linear regression analyses were performed modeling endocrine surgery cases over time and stratified by procedure type and resident level.

Results: The number of individuals completing general surgery residency each year increased from 981 to 1,219 (P < .001). The average total number of endocrine surgery cases performed increased from 17 to 33.2 (P < .001) but has declined since its peak at 36.9 in 2010 to 2011 (P = .014). Thyroid operations increased from 11.4 to 19.8 (P < .001) but peaked at 23.5 in 2010 to 2011 and have since declined (P < .001). Parathyroid operations more than doubled from 4.2 to 9.7 (P < .001). Adrenal operations increased from 1 to 2.2 (P < .001) and pancreatic endocrine operations increased from 0.2 to 1.5 (P < .001). Surgeon Chief endocrine surgery cases peaked at 14.4 in 2003 to 2004 but have since declined by 22.2% (P < .001). Surgeon Junior endocrine surgery cases increased overall (P < .001) but peaked at 22.8 in 2011 to 2012. There was increasing heterogeneity over time in trainee experience (P < .001).

Conclusion: After having increased for 2 decades, the number of endocrine surgery cases performed by general surgery residents is currently in decline. Possible contributing factors include growth in the number of general surgery residents, variable and narrowed case mix, and encroachment by other learners.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Endocrine Surgical Procedures / education*
  • Endocrine Surgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Endocrine Surgical Procedures / trends*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / trends*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • United States