Comparable operative times with and without surgery resident participation

John Uecker, Kevin Luftman, Sadia Ali, Carlos Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Both physicians and patients may perceive that having surgical residents participate in operative procedures may prolong operations and worsen outcomes. We hypothesized that resident participation would prolong operative times and potentially adversely affect postoperative outcomes. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of general surgery resident participation in surgical procedures on operative times and postoperative patient outcomes. DESIGN: Retrospective study of general surgery procedures performed during two 1-year time periods, 2007 without residents and 2011 with residents. Procedures included laparo-scopic appendectomy and cholecystectomy, thyroidectomy, breast procedure, hernia repair, lower extremity amputation, tunneled venous catheter, and percutaneous endoscopic gastro-stomy. The primary outcome was operative time and secondary outcomes included length of stay (LOS) and mortality. SETTING: Academic general surgery residency program. RESULTS: There were 2280 operative procedures performed during the 2 periods: 1150 with resident involvement (RES group) and 1130 without residents (NORES group). The RES and NORES groups were similar for patient age (42 vs 41, p = 0.14) and male gender (46% vs 45%, p = 0.68), and there was no difference in overall operative time (68 min vs 66 min, p = 0.58). More specifically there was no difference in operative time (minutes) for specific procedures including laparoscopic appendectomy (67 vs 71, p = 0.8), thyroidectomy (125 vs 109, p = 0.16), breast procedure (38 vs 26, p = 0.79), hernia repair (61 vs 60, p = 0.74), lower extremity amputation (65 vs 77, p = 0.16), tunneled venous catheter (49 vs 47, p = 0.75), and percutaneous endoscopic gastro-stomy (49 vs 46, p = 0.76). However, laparoscopic cholecystectomy took slightly longer in the RES group (71 vs 66, p = 0.02). LOS was shorter during the year with resident involvement (2.6 days vs 3.7 days, p = 0.0004) and there was no difference in mortality (0.17% vs 0.35%, p = 0.45). CONCLUSIONS: There is no difference in operative time for common general surgery procedures with or without resident involvement. In addition, resident involvement is associated with a decrease in LOS. This information should be used to change physician and patient negative perceptions regarding resident involvement while performing surgical procedures. (J Surg 70:696-699.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-699
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013


  • General surgery
  • Length of stay
  • Operative times
  • RRC
  • Residency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparable operative times with and without surgery resident participation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this