Editor's Choice| Volume 45, ISSUE 9, P820-829, September 2020

Canadian Plastic Surgery Resident Operative Experience in Hand Surgery


      Core procedural competencies (CPCs) in hand surgery have been previously described. However, it is unknown whether plastic surgery residents receive sufficient operative experience with these procedures. This study aimed to determine whether Canadian plastic surgery residents are receiving adequate exposure to CPCs in hand surgery during residency training.


      Hand surgery case logs recorded by graduating plastic surgery residents at 10 Canadian English-speaking training programs between 2004 and 2014 were reviewed from 3 databases. For each CPC in hand surgery, perceived resident role and self-competence scores were collected and analyzed. Core procedural competencies encompass core essential procedural competencies (CEPCs) and nonessential procedural competencies.


      There were 55 graduating plastic surgery residents included in the study. A total of 14,909 procedures were logged for 42 CPCs, with an average of 271 procedures/resident. When grouped by subdomain within hand surgery, procedures with the most exposure were related to traumatic finger injuries (29%) and neuropathies (22%). The least common procedures were related to flap reconstructions (0.3%) and muscle release (0.1%). Many residents reported receiving no operative experience (range, 2% to 100%) or between 1 and 10 cases of CEPCs (range, 7% to 50%). Most graduating residents (58% to 72%) did not feel competent independently performing 60% of the most common procedures. There were weak to moderate correlations between role and self-competence, and between postgraduate year and self-competence.


      Currently, many plastic surgery residents graduate from training programs with little to no exposure for over half of the CEPCs in hand surgery.

      Clinical relevance

      Given the great diversity in hand surgery CPCs, it is difficult for residents to gain adequate operative experience during their residency in all of the CPCs.

      Key words

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