Transplant Surgery Pipeline: A Report from the American Society of Transplant Surgeons Pipeline Taskforce

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Publication Title

Journal of the American College of Surgeons


BACKGROUND: Transplant surgery fellowship has evolved over the years and today there are 66 accredited training programs in the US and Canada. There is growing concern, however, about the number of US-trained general surgery residents pursuing transplant surgery. In this study, we examined the transplant surgery pipeline, comparing it with other surgical subspecialty fellowships, and characterized the resident transplantation experience.

METHODS: Datasets were compiled and analyzed from surgical fellowship match data obtained from the National Resident Matching Program and ACGME reports and relative fellowship competitiveness was assessed. The surgical resident training experience in transplantation was evaluated.

RESULTS: From 2006 to 2018, a total of 1,094 applicants have applied for 946 transplant surgery fellowship positions; 299 (27.3%) were US graduates. During this period, there was a 0.8% decrease per year in US-trained surgical residents matching into transplant surgery (p = 0.042). In addition, transplant surgery was one of the least competitive fellowships compared with other National Resident Matching Program surgical subspeciality fellowships, as measured by the number of US applicants per available fellowship position, average number of fellowship programs listed on each applicant's rank list, and proportion of unfilled fellowship positions (each, p < 0.05). Finally, from 2015 to 2017, there were 57 general surgery residency programs that produced 77 transplant surgery fellows, but nearly one-half of the fellows (n = 36 [46.8%]) came from 16 (28.1%) programs.

CONCLUSIONS: Transplant surgery is one of the least competitive and sought after surgical fellowships for US-trained residents. These findings highlight the need for dedicated efforts to increase exposure, mentorship, and interest in transplantation to recruit strong US graduates.

Medical Subject Headings

Transplant and Abdominal Surgery

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print