Resident Involvement in Inguinal Hernia Repair is Safe but Associated With Increased Operative Time

Audrey Stevens, Jennie Meier, Courtney Balentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Understanding how resident participation in surgery affects outcomes is critical for academic surgeons. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if resident participation was associated with adverse outcomes for inguinal hernia repair. Methods: We used the Veterans Affairs Surgical Quality Improvement Program to look at 61,737 patients aged ≥18 y who had open inguinal hernia repairs from 1998 to 2018. Propensity weighting was used to compare postoperative complications and operative time for patients having surgery performed by an attending alone versus attending with a postgraduate year (PGY) 1, 3, or 5 residents. Results: There were 29,806 hernias (48%) repaired by an attending, 12,024 (19%) by an intern, 9008 (15%) by a PGY-3 resident, and 10,898 (18%) by a PGY-5 resident. After propensity weighting, there was a 0.13% (95% CI −0.11% to 0.38%, P = 0.29) increase in complications with PGY-1 participation compared to cases performed by attendings alone, a 0.3% increase (95% CI 0.01% to 0.59%, P = 0.04) for PGY-3 residents, and a 0.4% increase (95% CI 0.11% to 0.69%, P = 0.007) for PGY-5 residents. There was also an increase in operative time of 26 min (95% CI 25 to 27, P < 0.001) with PGY-1 participation, 19 min (95% CI 18 to 20, P < 0.001) with PGY-3 participation, and 23 min (95% CI 22 to 24, P < 0.001) with PGY-5 participation. Conclusions: Resident involvement in inguinal hernia surgery was associated with a significant increase in operative time but had a minimal impact on postoperative complications. Although resident participation in hernia surgery is safe, surgical programs should focus on enhancing operative efficiency for residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Hernia
  • Inguinal hernia
  • Postoperative outcomes
  • Resident
  • Resident participation
  • Resident training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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