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Comparison of appendectomy outcomes between senior general surgeons and general surgery residents.

Siam B, Al-Kurd A, Simanovsky N, et al. Comparison of Appendectomy Outcomes Between Senior General Surgeons and General Surgery Residents. JAMA Surg. 2017;152(7):679-685. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0578.

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May 3, 2017
Siam B, Al-Kurd A, Simanovsky N, et al. JAMA Surg. 2017;152(7):679-685.

Balancing supervision and autonomy for trainee physicians is a contested area in patient safety. This analysis of medical record data at a single institution compared complication rates following acute appendectomy between surgical resident physicians and attending surgeons. As measured by a composite score, the complication rate did not differ between trainees and attending surgeons. There was no difference in the rate of follow-up imaging, length of stay, or duration of antibiotics following surgery. On average, trainees took about 9 minutes longer to complete the surgery. The authors conclude that trainees do not require attending supervision to safely perform appendectomies. A related editorial calls for greater surgical resident autonomy and notes the importance of real-life experience with procedures to prepare residents for independent practice. A past PSNet perspective explored this tension between supervision and autonomy in medical education.

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Siam B, Al-Kurd A, Simanovsky N, et al. Comparison of Appendectomy Outcomes Between Senior General Surgeons and General Surgery Residents. JAMA Surg. 2017;152(7):679-685. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0578.