One current and one recent member of the UW-Madison Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology are among a group of authors whose article on resident involvement in gynecologic surgical procedures has landed on the recent cover of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG), also known as "the gray journal" among people in the field of Ob-Gyn. Stephen L. Rose, MD, associate professor and director of the gynecologic oncology fellowship at UW, and Shitanshu Uppal, MD, a former UW gynecologic oncology fellow, now an assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan, contributed to the article, entitled, "Resident participation in laparoscopic hysterectomy: Impact of trainee involvement on operative times and surgical outcomes."
The authors report on a retrospective review of laparoscopic hysterectomy procedures for benign disease over a four-year period. The review found that operative times increased significantly when residents were involved, but that laparoscopic hysterectomies with resident involvement were just as safe as those performed by attending physicians alone. While the authors observed small differences in the rates of postoperative transfusions, reoperation, and readmission, rates of overall complications, severe complications, and 30-day mortality rate remained comparable to procedures performed without resident involvement, allowing the authors to conclude that resident involvement in these types of procedures is safe.
In addition to the primary article, the gray journal invited an editorial response from Matthew R. Hopkins, MD and Sean C. Dowdy, MD, both of Mayo Clinic Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. These authors generally concur with the reassuring findings that procedures involving residents are safe, and offer a few caveats regarding the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) data set and suggestions for further research.