Operative time and cost of resident surgical experience: Effect of instituting an otolaryngology residency program

Taylor R. Pollei, David M. Barrs, Michael L. Hinni, Stephen F. Bansberg, Logan C. Walter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective. Describe the procedure length difference between surgeries performed by an attending surgeon alone compared with the resident surgeon supervised by the same attending surgeon. Study Design. Case series with chart review. Setting. Tertiary care center and residency program. Subjects and Methods. Six common otolaryngologic procedures performed between August 1994 and May 2012 were divided into 2 cohorts: attending surgeon alone or resident surgeon. This division coincided with our July 2006 initiation of an otolaryngologyhead and neck surgery residency program. Operative duration was compared between cohorts with confounding factors controlled. In addition, the direct result of increased surgical length on operating room cost was calculated and applied to departmental and published resident case log report data. Results. Five of the 6 procedures evaluated showed a statistically significant increase in surgery length with resident involvement. Operative time increased 6.8 minutes for a cricopharyngeal myotomy (P = .0097), 11.3 minutes for a tonsillectomy (P \ .0001), 27.4 minutes for a parotidectomy (P = .028), 38.3 minutes for a septoplasty (P\.0001), and 51 minutes for tympanomastoidectomy (P \ .0021). Thyroidectomy showed no operative time difference. Cost of increased surgical time was calculated per surgery and ranged from $286 (cricopharyngeal myotomy) to $2142 (mastoidectomy). When applied to reported national case log averages for graduating residents, this resulted in a significant increase of direct training-related costs. Conclusion. Resident participation in the operating room results in increased surgical length and additional system cost. Although residency is a necessary part of surgical training, associated costs need to be acknowledged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)912-918
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Cost
  • Operative time
  • Otolaryngology
  • Procedure length
  • Residency
  • Resident
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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