Operative Experience During Orthopaedic Residency Compared with Early Practice in the U.S.

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The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume


BACKGROUND: The goal of surgical education is to prepare the trainee for independent practice; however, the relevance of the current residency experience to practice remains uncertain. The purpose of this study was to identify the surgical procedures most frequently performed in orthopaedic residency and in early surgical practice and to identify surgical procedures performed more often or less often in orthopaedic residency compared with early surgical practice.

METHODS: This retrospective cohort study included American Medical Association (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes (n = 4,329,561 procedures) reported by all U.S. orthopaedic surgery residents completing residency between 2010 and 2012 (n = 1,978) and AMA CPT codes for all procedures (n = 413,370) reported by U.S. orthopaedic surgeons who took the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Part II certifying examination between 2013 and 2015 (n = 2,205). Relative rates were determined for AMA CPT codes and AMA CPT code categories for adult and pediatric surgeries that had frequencies of ≥0.1% for both practitioners and residents.

RESULTS: The top 25 adult AMA CPT code categories contributed 82.1% of the total case volume for residents and 82.4% for practitioners. Knee and shoulder arthroscopy were the most frequently performed procedures in adults in both residency and early practice. Humerus/elbow fracture and/or dislocation procedures and "other musculoskeletal-introduction or removal" procedures were the most frequently performed procedures in pediatric cases in both residency and early practice. Of the total 78 adult and 82 pediatric code categories included in our analysis that had a frequency of >1% in residency or early practice, there were 4 adult and 6 pediatric code categories demonstrating 44% to 1,164% greater frequency in residency than in early practice, and there were 8 adult and 7 pediatric code categories demonstrating 26% to 73% less frequency in residency than in early practice.

CONCLUSIONS: Similarity between residency and early practice experience is generally strong. However, we identified several AMA CPT code categories and individual CPT codes for which the level of exposure during residency varied substantially from early practice experience. These findings can help residencies ensure adequate trainee exposure to procedures performed commonly in early practice.

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