Effects of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy on Surgical Residency Training

Shin, Susanna; Fournier, Keith; Cole, Frederick; Laronga, Christine
September 2006
American Surgeon;Sep2006, Vol. 72 Issue 9, p791
Academic Journal
Axillary node dissection (AND) is an integral part of surgical training. Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLN) was introduced into our residency in 1997. Our purpose in this study was to evaluate the impact of SLN on AND experience. AND/SLN operative experience of residents and attendings at our residency was reviewed using resident case-logs and questionnaires from 2002 and 2005. The perception of performing and teaching AND was assessed. Thirty-three residents and 24 attendings participated. Graduating chiefs from the class of 2000 performed no SLN, which increased to 4.25 in 2002 and to 8.5 in 2005. In contrast, graduating chiefs performed 25 AND in 2000, which decreased to 16.5 in 2002 and to 13.25 in 2005. The majority of the residents felt that AND was a senior level case (56% postgraduate year [PGY] 1 and I1 and 87% PGY lit-V). The majority of the residents felt that SLN was a junior level case (89% PGY I and II and PGY III-V). Fifty-six per cent of PGY III-V felt that SLN introduction negatively impacted their ability to perform AND. Attendings cited 15 and 24 AND before feeling comfortable performing and teaching the procedure to a resident. Since the introduction of SLN into our residency, the number of AND has decreased, with senior residents feeling that SLN has decreased their ability to perform AND. As fewer AND are performed than our attendings cite to feel comfortable, future residents may not be competent to perform or teach AND.


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