Finding the Balance: General Surgery Resident Versus Fellow Training and Exposure in Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery

J Surg Educ. 2021 May-Jun;78(3):875-884. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2020.09.002. Epub 2020 Oct 17.


Background: Institutions training both General Surgery (GS) residents and Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary (HPB) fellows must strive for adequate case volumes for each trainee cohort.

Methods: Six academic years of graduating ACGME Residency and HPB Fellowship Council case logs (July 2011-June 2017) and institutional administrative faculty billing data were examined at a single high-volume center with a formal HPB Surgical Division with both GS Residency and HPB Surgery Fellowship trainees.

Results: During the 6-year period, 7482 operations were performed by HPB faculty (5.5 total full-time equivalent (FTE)) and included 2419 major liver, 375 major biliary, and 1591 major pancreas cases. Residents/fellows performed 1102 (50%)/1101 (50%) of all major liver operations, 165 (49.7%)/163 (50.3%) major biliary operations, and 843 (59.2%)/581 (40.8%) major pancreas operations, with significantly different case mix of pancreas for resident versus fellow, p < 0.0001. The overall relative proportion of total HPB cases performed by residents versus fellows was 53%/47%, respectively, and this was stable over time, with no significant decrease in resident exposure/cases with dedicated HPB fellowship.

Conclusions: Our experience in training both GS residents and HPB fellows with a formal HPB Surgical Division suggests that a high volume HPB Division allows for more than adequate exposure for both groups of trainees.

Keywords: Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary surgery; fellowship; general surgery residency; surgical education; trainee case volume.

MeSH terms

  • Biliary Tract Surgical Procedures*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • General Surgery* / education
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*