Effects of Implementing a Breast Surgery Rotation on ABSITE Scores and Surgical Case Volume

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Surgical Research


BACKGROUND: Little is known about general surgery trainees' education regarding management of breast problems. We sought to measure the impact of a dedicated breast surgery rotation on American Board of Surgery In-Service Examination (ABSITE) scores and operative volumes.

METHODS: A breast surgery rotation was implemented at our program in July 2016. We obtained the January 2017 ABSITE scores for postgraduate year (PGY) 1-3 residents, and obtained the case volumes for PGY 1-3 residents during the years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.

RESULTS: We compared the performance on total questions and skin, soft tissue, and breast questions between the residents who had the breast rotation before the ABSITE to those that had it after. There was no difference in the average overall percentage (70.2% versus 71.7%, P = 0.55) or in the average skin, soft tissue, and breast percentage (70% versus 71.4%, P = 0.72). A postgraduate year-to-year comparison showed an increase in average total major cases among the PGY-1 residents (93.8 versus 166.8, P = 0.02), and an increase in average breast cases among the PGY-1 (17.8 versus 27 cases, P < 0.01) and PGY-2 (27.3 versus 47.7 cases, P = 0.02) years. There was an increase in the proportion of complex breast cases performed by PGY-3 residents (23.2% versus 33.1%, P = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: A dedicated breast surgery rotation did not detract from the nonbreast general surgery educational experience of junior residents (as measured by ABSITE scores), and it increased the case volume of breast as well as total major cases among junior residents. A breast surgery rotation is valuable for strengthening surgical case volumes.

PubMed ID




First Page


Last Page