An acute care surgery rotation contributes significant general surgical operative volume to residency training compared with other rotations

Matthew D. Stanley, Daniel L. Davenport, Levi D. Procter, Jacob E. Perry, Paul A. Kearney, Andrew C. Bernard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical resident rotations on trauma services are criticized for little operative experience and heavy workloads. This has resulted in diminished interest in trauma surgery among surgical residents. Acute care surgery (ACS) combines trauma and emergency/elective general surgery, enhancing operative volume and balancing operative and nonoperative effort. We hypothesize that a mature ACS service provides significant operative experience. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of ACGME case logs of 14 graduates from a major, academic, Level I trauma center program during a 3-year period. Residency Review Committee index case volumes during the fourth and fifth years of postgraduate training (PGY-4 and PGY-5) ACS rotations were compared with other service rotations: in total and per resident week on service. Results: Ten thousand six hundred fifty-four cases were analyzed for 14 graduates. Mean cases per resident was 432 ± 57 in PGY-4, 330 ± 40 in PGY-5, and 761 ± 67 for both years combined. Mean case volume on ACS for both years was 273 ± 44, which represented 35.8% (273 of 761) of the total experience and exceeded all other services. Residents averaged 8.9 cases per week on the ACS service, which exceeded all other services except private general surgery, gastrointestinal/minimally invasive surgery, and pediatric surgery rotations. Disproportionately more head/neck, small and large intestine, gastric, spleen, laparotomy, and hernia cases occurred on ACS than on other services. Conclusions: Residents gain a large operative experience on ACS. An ACS model is viable in training, provides valuable operative experience, and should not be considered a drain on resident effort. Valuable ACS rotation experiences as a resident may encourage graduates to pursue ACS as a career.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-594
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Acute care surgery
  • Case log
  • General surgery residents
  • Operative volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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